Andrew’s world in Japan

andrew2Andrew Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring the creative process &connecting with other creative people.Kirin brewery custom auto

Invite Yourself To A Craft Brew
Continuation of the discussion of microbrew in Japan

Whoa, whoa, whoa, what’s that? You didn’t forget about the collaboration we share here right? We may just have something here, unlocked from our perception of reality. A fl ash of the gift of fermented beverages. An ancient mind altering potion that today is still referred to as a spirit. The Craft beer.

Today, with the aid of hindsight, it’s possible to look back and see the benefi t that a visionary like Fritz Maytag can have. The choice to invest in an 109 year old San Franciscan Anchor Steam ale in 1965 may be that decisive act that created the opportunity to brew. Of course, around the globe, people have been creating hand crafted fermented drinks probably as long as they have been living. But on a business scale, it wasn’t until the deep pockets of the Maytag fortune and the passion Fritz held to preserve the historic uniquely San Franciscan steam ale style that a truce was struck between fi nancial success and a microbrewery business. Since that veil was removed, steady expansion of creating and preserving specialty food and drinks continues.


Ji Birin, craft beer as it’s known in Japan is well worth the time and eff ort to explore. Up until 1994, the Japanese were inhibited from participating legally in this global creative movement. Taxation stifl ed any interest, investment or innovation. Various taxes and laws have led to creations such as ‘Happoushu’ which is a kind of “fake” beer, but most of these advancements are more methods to market and sell a watered down product. Fortunately for Japan and today’s global market, harsh tax laws were relaxed. Now it’sandrew3 even possible to fi nd a home-brew supply kit in a respected popular department store like Tokyu Hands.

Recently added to the playing fi eld only two hours north of Tokyo, Hitachino Nest Brewery has begun off ering workshops to craft beer enthusiasts. The program sets a minimum order of 45 bottles for the course price of about USD $260 that can be split among a group. Even the option to brew four styles of their popular beers: white ale, pale ale, amber ale and sweet stout, is available.

It’s unlikely you are going to come across a craft beer in one of the many vending machines selling beer in Japan, but you don’t have to look very far. Stop by Kinokuniya and pick up a copy of the newly released ‘ Craft Beer In Japan;The Essential Guide ‘ and get started expanding your palette of experiences to this ever expanding world of craft fermented beverages.