Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Big Beer, Big Business

Asahi Group has just announced the biggest purchase ever made by a Japanese brewing firm. It is buying several eastern European beer brands from ABInBev for $7.8billion. These include Lech, Dreher, Tyskie, Ursus, and (most notably) Pilsner Urquell.

Just a few months ago, Asahi acquired large breweries in western Europe, including Peroni and Grolsch, from SABMiller. The latest deal should give Asahi approximately a 9% market share in Europe.

Especially prominent is the acquisition of Pilsner Urquell, which has the highest market share in the Czech Republic, the top beer-drinking country per capita in the world. However, the overall market for standard beers in Europe is somewhat static, with more attention and growth going to premium or craft beers.

These acquisitions are likely to have little effect on beer drinkers in Japan. Pilsner Urquell, Dreher, Peroni, and Grolsch have long been available at supermarkets and larger liquor stores in the country. But they should help bolster Asahi’s bottom line, since beer consumption in Japan has been decreasing for over a decade, and this recent purchase will increase the company's percentage of sales from abroad to around 25%.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

日本のクラフトビールのすべて / Craft Beer in Japan: The Essential Guide (Japanese version)


At long last, the Japanese-language version of Mark Meli’s Craft Beer in Japan: The Essential Guide is finally out. The original book, published in 2013, is definitely the most thorough treatment of the developing craft beer scene available in English.

More than just a translation of the original text, this new book has been updated to include breweries that have opened in Japan during the past 2-3 years. Meli includes listings of over 200 breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars, along with detailed descriptions of more than 100 of them. He also offers insights on the history and development of craft beer in several short essays, and provides a guide to Japanese beer festivals.

Meli pulls no punches when describing breweries and their beer lineups. His evaluations, while certainly subjective, are fair and honest – and this cannot be said of many Japanese craft beer books. This one will guide you to the best places and best beers being made across the nation, and steer you away from those which fall short.

The Kindle version is available HERE at

Hard copies are available on The Japan Beer Times website HERE for ¥2,000 (+¥500 shipping within Japan and ¥1,000 for international shipping).

Drink this book.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Upcoming Beer Festivals in the Kansai Region ... and Two Others

Lots of local beer festivals coming up soon, four in the Kansai region and two elsewhere. Take your pick.

Ibaraki Bakuon Fest 2016
Ibaraki Chuo Koen, Ibaraki, Japan
September 18-19 2016: 11:00-20:00

Craft Beer Picnic 2016
Nakanoshima Koen, Osaka, Japan
September 22-25 2016; 11:00-20:30


Osaka-Jo Craft Beer Holiday
Osaka-Jo Koen, Osaka , Japan
Oct. 7: 14:00-21:00
Oct. 8~9: 11:00-21:00
Oct. 10: 11:00-19:00

World Craft Beer Tasting 2016
Osaka-Jo Koen, Osaka, Japan
Oct 30: 11:00-18:00

Craft Beer Festival in Matsumoto 2016
Matsumoto-Jo Koen, Matsumoto, Japan
Sept. 22 ~ Sept. 24: 11:00-19:00
Sept. 25: 11:00-17:00

ビアフェス信州2016「クラフトビールフェスティバル in松本」 イベント画像1

Craft Beer Kanazawa
Shinoki Geihinkan Ishi no Hiroba, Kanazawa, Japan
Oct. 1: 11:00-20:00
Oct. 2: 11:00-17:00