Japanese Craft Brewers Eye American Market

Craft beer makers hope their 190-year-old tradition of sake brewing, using local ingredients and a dedicated craftsmanship, will attract a large U.S. market of beer drinkers.

October 08, 2018

TOKYO – An association of 22 craft brewers, along with the Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center (JFOODO), has launched a marketing campaign aimed at promoting the richness and unique flavor profile of Japanese beer to industry professionals and consumers on the West Coast, reports Foodbev.com.

The Japanese craft beer association and JFOODO launched the “Drink in a New Language” campaign to introduce new beer to the market over the next year through trade marketing relations, consumer events, traditional public relations and social media.

A recent study by JFOODO among 447 craft beer consumers in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles found that 80% of respondents would try craft beer from Japan. The country’s beer offering is positioned to answer a demand for low-malt beer in the United States.

“Japanese craft beer boasts unique attributes that are sure to appeal to American consumers,” said Hiroki Oizumi, JFOODO director general. “Beer lovers will discover quality brews of great character that are handcrafted with extreme attention to detail and unique ingredients from all corners of Japan, such as yuzu, sansho [Japanese pepper] or matcha.”

Born in 1994 following industry deregulation that allowed smaller beer makers to acquire brewing licenses, the Japanese craft beer movement is firmly rooted in traditional sake making.

According to Toshiyuki Kiuchi, vice president of Kiuchi Brewery, which known for its Hitachino Nest Beer, “While our beer is inspired by Western traditions, many differentiating factors contribute to making our products unique, including the impact of our 190-year-old sake brewing traditions, local ingredients and a dedication to craftsmanship that can only come from Japan.”

“The American market is obviously a top market for Japanese craft beer exports,” said Yusuke Miyakoshi, overseas sales manager at Yoho Brewing. “We want our beer to inspire Americans to be curious, try new things and realize the care and expertise Japanese craft brewers put into every single can of beer.”