Andrew’s world in Japan

Andrew Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring the creative process 

& connecting with other creative people.Kirin brewery custom auto

Classic Can

Classic Can

Ryukyu’s Pride A Tour Of The Orion Brewery

 H ere we are, touching down on the soil of the famous Japanese island Okinawa. Also, more fondly known to the local populace as Ryukyu Kingdom. It may just contain “the longest-lived people in the world” [wikipedia]. Origins of which speculate those early arrivals to have hiked over a land bridge some 32,000 years ago. Although today they are taken for granted as Japanese, this section of earth has straddled a complicated balance of cultures, regimes and governments from China, Japan and more recently the United States. Up for debate is whether their annexation by Japan in 1879 has contributed to a decline in the usage of their local language or just another of the many casualties of our modern times.

Local Ceramics

Local Ceramics

Yet without a doubt, they remain proud of their national beer Orion. Adorning almost any corner, an item displaying the company logo will penetrate your vision. During a visit to my friend Masanao, we organized a brewery tour with his brother and family. With a couple of supercharged kids in tow, we were in store for a rambunctious romp around a factory.

Fortunately, this tale exists because beer offi cially reentered Japanese society through the 1854 “Treaty of Kanagawa.” A long time before Orion even began delivering their beer “characterized by a crisp refreshing feel and wild taste” (Orion Beer Co, Ltd. 2012). I knew the door opened to revert into my inner child when the kids started singing along at full force with the radio. Luckily for my tender ears, we were already in Nago so our drive was short lived.

Factory Towers

Factory Towers

Arriving at the towering Orion facility, our fi rst stop was a central counter to log in, identify our designated “non-drinking” driver and collect our tickets for complementary beverages concludin

Orion Brewery Tour Entrance

Orion Brewery Tour Entrance

g the tour. As usual in Japan, if you would like your guide to speak in English, calling ahead to arrange your time is a must. Subject to standard brewery tour practice, you are presented their particular process of malting, mashing, fermenting, fi ltering and packaging. Different then any other tour I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing was the inclusion of the kids. Jumping about, squealing, asking questions and tugging at their poppa, uncle or me added a whole other level of soulfulness to a potentially mechanistic experience.

Invariably, the good times must draw to a close. Following the central facilities and bottling were two fi nal displays. One, a history of Orion packaging, logos and traditional Ryukyu drinking vessels. The second, how they recycle the multitude of components from ingredients to packaging that make up their whole system of beer production. Stretch your arms out, it’s time to turn in that ticket. We’ve stepped into the beer hall and gather our two complementary beers and snack. A young attendant let us know that we had about 30 minutes to enjoy ourselves there, plenty of time. The day was still young and the children were still fully charged. Next stop, swinging out epic levels of youthful energy at the batting cages.

Beverage and Snacks

Beverage and Snacks

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