Kiuchi Brewery

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Kiuchi Brewery, known as Kiuchi Shuzo in Japanese, has been a beacon of quality and tradition in the world of brewing since its inception in 1823. Founded by Kiuchi Gihei, the brewery initially produced sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine. However, as the years passed, the Kiuchi family began to experiment with other fermented beverages, including beer.

The brewery began in 1823, when Kiuchi Gihei embarked on the journey of crafting Japan's beloved spirit, sake. For many decades, Japan's beer landscape remained confined to the styles produced by the nation's four prominent breweries, all governed by strict state licensing laws. However, a pivotal turning point occurred in 1994 when these regulations were relaxed, which made way for a new generation of smaller breweries to revolutionise the Japanese beer scene.

Unfortunately, none of the big breweries in Japan were willing to help Kiuchi with its production woes, so Kiuchi had to turn to North America for help. Through a Canadian company, Kiuchi was able to get the equipment and knowledge that they needed to start making beer.

Hitachino Nest Beer

In 1996, after 18 months of hard work, the first beer was born, marking a pivotal moment. The taste of their first attempt was surprisingly excellent, thanks to the Kiuchis' craftsmanship developed over 190 years of sake-making. This remarkable beer was named “Hitachino Nest” - a combination of the area’s old name “Hitachino” and part of the village’s name “Kounosu” (鴻巣), with “nosu” (巣) meaning “nest”.

The brewery itself also stands by its beer, as visitors can rest in the bar while sipping on its delicious brews. The bar opens up to a beautiful courtyard where you can see many of its on-site buildings in their full glory.

Arguably the brewery’s most iconic beers, the Hitachino Nest series has garnered international acclaim for its distinctive flavours and iconic owl logo, which was both inspired by and a tribute to the area’s owl population.
In particular, The Hitachino Nest White Ale might be Japan’s most recognisable beer - after Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo of course. The refreshing Belgian-style beer has a complex flavour of coriander, orange peel, and nutmeg.

Another well-loved brew of Kiuchi Brewery is its Hitachino Nest Red Rice Japanese Strong Ale - an ale that is made of Asamurasaki red rice, Hallertauer hops, and flaked barley malt to deliver a delicate balance of sweetness and sake-like fragrance.

Kiuchi Brewery today

Drawing upon over 150 years of brewing wisdom, Kiuchi Brewery embraced global influences while remaining deeply rooted in Japan's rich drinking culture. As a result, Kiuchi Brewery had several early successes; Kiuchi’s Amber Ale won Gold at the first International Beer Competition in Japan within a year of its founding. Since then, the brewery has won numerous awards, including the esteemed World Beer Cup in the USA.

With these awards under its belt, along with a growing cult following, Kiuchi Brewery was confident enough to expand its beer production and export Hitachino Nest beer globally, starting with the USA. In 2008, the Kiuchi family further expanded their facilities to a new brewery location nearby - the Nukada brewery.

Now, Kiuchi Brewery is one of the top craft breweries in Japan and continues to expand rapidly overseas. By merging European beer-making technology with Japanese sake-brewing techniques, Kiuchi Brewery was able to carry out several creative and successful experiments. With its yummy, award-winning brews, Kiuchi Brewery is set to become an industry giant amongst the new generation of beer lovers!
 

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