Articles on Japan, Links & Reviews
Events in Japan
Great Japan Beer Festival - Microbrews in Japan (May 28 - June 5 2011)
Mass market beers are a lot like grabbing some dinner at the conbinis in which they’re sold; easily available, with slight variations in selection but a bit on the bland side. Given the choice you’d much rather be popping into that nice restaurant next door wouldn’t you?
For just over a century, thanks to the Beer Tax Laws (the first was passed in 1901) Japanese beer drinkers had to make due with whatever new colour of label the Big 4 designed to slap on that lager they were producing or, later, seek out what imported titles they could at supermarkets or the odd “International” Pub.
The Beer Tax Law essentially took smaller beer brewers- often premium sake producers- out at the knees by only granting brewing licenses to those who could produce 180 Kilolitres (Kl) per annum. When that wasn’t quite monopolistic enough, the number was raised dramatically higher to 1,800KL in 1940 and further still to 2,000 Kl in 1956. No need for guessing which companies could keep to that kind of production quota. So, after the dust settled from yet another round of brewery closures Japanese beer drinkers were left with the Big 4 and only the Big 4. Bigger is blander as they say.
Then, in 1994, this rather protectionist piece of legislation was finally consigned to the recycle bin of history. Production quotas for licenses were lowered to 60KL opening the door for smaller brewers to finally come back into the market. By 1996, 50 small breweries had started up (or more accurately re-started in the case of producers like Ishikawa Breweries in Hajima, Tokyo). 10 years later that number had grown to nearly 300!
Much like other areas of the economy, once the shackles were finally loosened and the requisite early stumbles were overcome, it didn’t take long before that innate Japanese creative drive, along with a dedication to perfection and high quality, started producing increasingly notable Japanese craft beer. As early as 1996, Japanese microbrewers began making an impact on the international beer festival scene and have been racking up an impressive number of accolades at international beer competitions ever since.
Great Japan Beer Festival
Partly in response to the rise of the Japanese ji-biru (microbrews) and their burgeoning reputations and partly to mark the liberation of choice for Beer lovers in Japan - the Great Japan Beer Festival was founded to celebrate all that was good and great about the art of the Craft Beer in Japan by Mr. Rouji Oda in 1998. Now held tri-annually in Ebisu, Osaka and Yokohama, the GJBF has attracted over 120,000 visitors over the last decade or so. So come join this gathering of brewers and aficionados for 2 days of good people, better brewers and unique, delicious beer.
Cheers & Kampai!
Great Japan Beer Festival Photos:
* Photos courtesy of the Japan Craft Beer Association
Great Japan Beer Festival Details:
1.a Beer Rise Festival 2011 in Tokyo (new!)
The Garden Room at Ebisu Garden Place
• Saturday, May 28th (2011)
• Sunday, May 29th (2011)
1.b Great Japan Beer Festival 2011 in Tokyo
The Garden Hall at Ebisu Garden Place
• Saturday, June 4th (2011)
• Sunday, June 5th (2011)
2. Great Japan Beer Festival 2011 in Osaka
Sky Hall at the Kyocera Dome, Osaka
• Saturday, July 16th (2011)
• Sunday, July 17th (2011)
• Monday, July 18th (2011)
3. Great Japan Beer Festival 2011 in Nagoya (new!)
Shiratori Hall in Nagoya Congress Centre
• Saturday, August 6th (2011)
• Sunday, August 7th (2011)
4. Great Japan Beer Festival 2011 in Yokohama
Osanbashi Hall at Yokohama Int'l Passenger Terminal
Tel 045-211-2307(for use only during the festival)
• Saturday, September 17 (2011)
• Sunday, September 18 (2011)
• Monday, September 19 (2011)
In addition to Japan's Premier Shop Directory, English OK! offers the following services:
Customer Service English Training: Onsite Workshops, e-Learning & Books
Multilingual Website Design