In early June Pabst Brewing Milwaukee WI joined other brewers in brewing and packaging beer under contract with a Japanese company. Suntory Ltd. Osaka Japan said to be the country's leading whiskey distiller has contracted with Pabst to produce and package Surfside beer for Japan's summer season. Milwaukee's Miller Brewing has already been producing Suntory Blue beer for the company reports Chicago Tribune columnist George Lazarus. Lazarus states that even with shipping costs it can be cheaper to produce canned beer in the U.S. for Japanese consumption. In fact he says such brands often undercut the prices of Japanese brews. In part he attributes the cost disparity to the high cost of aluminum for beer packaging in Japan (see p. 60). Japan was the premier export market for U.S. brewers last year receiving 1.8 million barrels or 25% of all beer exports. Last year Anheuser-Busch St. Louis MO produced and shipped Kirin Ice beer to the Japanese brewer of the same name. PW was unable to get Pabst or Miller to comment.