Craft Beer. Let’s Enjoy Evolving Japanese Masterpieces.

In April 1994, Japanese government revised the Liquor Tax Act, and the minimum production volume necessary for maintaining beer production license has changed from 2000k litter to 60k litter per year.

Due to this revision, craft beer making was boomed and so many micro breweries started their business. Such an inflation of craft beer continued until 2004 with the peak number of breweries as 251 according to an official paper by Japanese National Tax Agency.

Unfortunately so many “low quality” players joined to this inflation which made consumers leaving craft beer market. Now the number of breweries has been decreasing. And as of the end of Mar 2017, it was 174.

However, this means low quality brewers couldn’t survive and were deceived. Most of the breweries are making variety of characteristic beers based on their craftsmanship, and this is why I want to start introducing Japanese Craft Beer in this blog.

What’s Craft Beer?

According to the definition by Japanese Tax Agency, it is

Beer made by a brewery which production is smaller than 2000k litter per year.

Japanese Tax Agency

And, JBA; Japan Brewers Association defines as following.

1. Beer made by breweries which are independent from mega brewers who has been producing before Liquor Tax Act revision in 1994,

2. One time production volume is less than 20k litter which a brewer can keep an careful eye on its production, and

3. Beer made in traditional process, or characteristic beer which contains local ingredients. Both means beer rooted in the region.

Japan Brewers Association “http://www.beer.gr.jp/local_beer/” (Only in Japanese)

In this blog, I’d like to adopt JBA definition. Definition 2 is a bit difficult to check so, I will follow mainly definition 1 and 3.

How to Introduce Craft Beer in this Blog?

I use below tasting chart. I checked several internet sources but could find an enough simple & easy chart I can use. Maybe it’s not good from the viewpoint of beer professionals, but forgive me. Sometimes it maybe wrong, but i will try to describe my honest feeling so that this chart can help readers finding your best beer.

Now , Let’s Start!

Thank you for reading this article, I will update the beer list little by little.

Please also check sake list and shochu list if you are interested.

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