An industry association of 22 Japanese craft beer makers has launched a US marketing campaign as it aims to showcase the “authenticity, richness and unique flavour profile” of its craft beer offer.
The ‘Drink in a New Language’ initiative is being carried out by association Japanese Craft Beer and JFOODO (Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center) to target both industry professionals and consumers across the West Coast.
Over the course of the next year, the group hopes to introduce new beer to the market through continuous trade marketing relations, consumer events, PR and social media.
A recent study by JFOODO among 447 craft beer consumers in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles found that 80% of respondents would want to try craft beer from Japan. The country’s beer offering is said to be positioned to answer a demand for low-malt beer in the US.
“Japanese craft beer boasts unique attributes that are sure to appeal to American consumers,” said Hiroki Oizumi, JFOODO director general.
“Beer lovers will discover quality brews of great character that are handcrafted with extreme attention to detail and unique ingredients from all corners of Japan such as yuzu, sansho (Japanese pepper) or matcha.”
Born in 1994 following industry deregulation that allowed smaller beer makers to acquire brewing licenses, the Japanese craft beer movement has its roots firmly planted in traditional sake making.
While German beer styles ruled at first in the 1990s and early 2000s, the industry has since widened its product portfolio to include seasonal pale ales, stouts and IPAs. To be considered craft brewers, Japanese beer makers need to produce a minimum of 60,000 litres of beer a year.
Toshiyuki Kiuchi, vice president of Kiuchi Brewery which known for its Hitachino Nest Beer, said: “While our beer is inspired by Western traditions, many differentiating factors contribute to making our products unique, including the impact of 190-year-old sake brewing traditions, local ingredients and a dedication to craftsmanship that can only come from Japan.”
Yusuke Miyakoshi, overseas sales manager at Yoho Brewing, added: “The American market is obviously a top market for Japanese craft beer exports. We want our beer to inspire Americans to be curious, try new things and realise the care and expertise Japanese craft brewers put into every single can of beer.”
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