Monday, September 1, 2014

Hitachino Nest Expanding in Korea / 韓国で拡大常陸野ネストビール

Hitachino Nest (Kuichi Brewery) is certainly one of the most visible Japanese craft beer brands in the United States. When I visit there, friends occasionally ask me if I like “Owl Beer.” -- the brand logo features a cutesy Japanese anime version of that distinctive bird.

 Image result for hitachino nest

Yet Hitachino Nest beers are, strangely, more easily found abroad than in Japan. In the US, nearly every good bottle shop will feature one or two Japanese beers, and nearly always some from Hitachino.
The company exports to 15 countries.

Now we see that the beer and sake producer is expanding into South Korea. According to an article in The Korea Times ("Japan's 'Owl' craft beer to land in Korea"), Hitachino Nest finalized a deal to establish a brewery there.

But, according to the company website, the business is already up and running, with tours and a tap room/restaurant offering seven beers on tap and seven in bottles.The website features photos of the brewery construction, a fairly good-sized facility that was completed in around two months.

The new venture, with the somewhat unimaginative name, “Korea Craft Brewery,” is located about 90 minutes south of Seoul, and is open daily (except Thursdays) with rather limited hours. Korea Craft Brewery also offers customized brewing for bars and restaurants, as well as brewhouse design and installation services.

A big bet for Hitachino Nest. The Korea Times article claims that 30% of the company’s beer sales are in South Korea, and it appears that they will be working on improving that number.

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