Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wish List for 2012

This year is on its way out, and I'd like to offer a few mild wishes concerning the Kansai (and nationwide, really) craft beer scene in the next. Not that they will be granted, or perhaps even heard, but all the same.
  • The continuing success of the wonderful craft beer bars we have and perhaps the opening of a few more
  • Better craft beer festivals
  • The opening of a Baird Tap Room in Osaka or Kyoto
  • A few more good bottle shops, similar to and more conveniently located than Asahiya (Moriguchi), Otsuki (Osaka), and Yamaoka (Kyoto)
  • Lowering of the tax rate on beer, which would greatly help craft brewers throughout the nation
  • The publication of Lefty's nearly completed guide to Japanese beer
  • The further publication of Japan Beer Times, now eight issues strong (slogan: Bad Beer is the Enemy / 美味しくないビールは世の中の敵です)
  • And finally, better business for the better breweries

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Brew-a-Day" at Baird Beer

A couple of months ago, Chris Poel, of Baird Beer, took us through a detailed look at the myriad jobs (big and small and minute) that a team of hard-working craft beer brewers do during a typical week.

This month he gives us a day-by-day accounting of each and every batch that Baird Beer created during November. It's full of fascinating information about each brew they made, including ingredients, process, and the eventual destination of the beer.

Have a look:

Brew-a-Day November, part 1

Brew-a-Day November, part 2

Brew-a-Day November, part 3


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Japanese Beer Trends & Marketing

Here's an entertaining look at beer trends in Japan. A slide show about the production and consumption of beer (by brand, age, and more) up to 2010. On view are the market shares as well as the marketing strategies of the four major producers: Kirin, Asahi, Suntory, and Sapporo.

Some highlights:

- Tokyoites consumed the most beer -- 87.4 bottles (55.4 liters) -- per person
   in the nation.
- In 2008, Japan ranked 39th in the world for beer consumption
   (at  47.9 liters per person), way behind the world leader,
   the Czech Republic (149.9 liters)
- Everyday drinking increases with consistently with age, from 14.3% of
   people in their 20s to 53.4% of people in their 60s
- Market shares by producer:
1) Beer: Asahi 49.6%
              Kirin 27.3%
              Sapporo 15.4%
              Suntory 7.6%

2) Low-malt beer (happoshu):
              Kirin 61.2%
              Asahi 25.2%
              Suntory 9.4%
              Sapporo 4.3%

3) No-malt beer (daisan biiru):
              Kirin 42.8%
              Suntory 22.6%
              Asahi 20.1%
              Sapporo 14.6%

Kirin sponsors the Japanese national soccer team and organizes the Kirin Cup (international soccer tournament).
Asahi attempts to connect with music fans though sponsoring concerts. Also sponsors the World Baseball Classic.
Suntory has its own classical music hall and uses top rock stars in its advertising. Also sponsors golf tournaments and has its own rugby team.
Sapporo uses a variety of famous athletes and celebrities in both television and Internet ad campaigns. Also sponsors the Hakone Ekiden (relay race).