Japan looks to alternative beer ingredients to rejuvenate beer consumption

Japanese brewers are banking on a newly introduced liquor tax law that allows breweries to use a wider range of ingredients in beer production to rejuvenate Japan’s shrinking domestic beer market.

According to a report by Jiji Press, the revised liquor tax law which came into effect last Sunday gives breweries more flexibility to choose ingredients such as fruits, herbs, dried bonito and kelp among others that were all strictly limited before.

Meanwhile, the revised law also dropped the required content of malt from the previous 67% or more to 50% or more.

At least four major beer companies in Japan are releasing beers with citrus fruits, herbs and blackcurrants, and one company called Yo-Ho Brewing Co is releasing a beer made using dried bonito.

Previously the quasi-beer, ‘happoshu’ made with fruits can be now sold as beer under the new law as well, according to the report.

“We can now do what we want,” thanks to the revised law, Kirin Holdings Co. president Yoshinori Isozaki, was quoted as saying.

Japan’s beer and quasi-beer shipments hit a record low for the 13th consecutive year last year. Shipments of beer, quasi-beer and the third category of beer-like beverage were down by 30% from their peak in 1994.

2 Responses to “Japan looks to alternative beer ingredients to rejuvenate beer consumption”

  1. Jo Hayridge says:

    There are some really great Japanese beers on the market. I encourage everyone reading this to try Sapporo at least.

  2. It could be worse; most gluten free beer is terrible. Thank god for red wine. When I could drink real beer, I liked both sour beers and hoppy beers. I do prefer my hoppy beers to be more balanced than the trend (at least as it was five years ago).

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