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Every convert to craft beer has a story about the “aha moment”. Toru Tanaka remembers his three years ago. Back then, ordering a beer in Japan meant choosing from among bland mass-market lagers. But Tanaka spotted an unfamiliar brand and decided to give it try: Hitachino Nest, made by Kiuchi Brewery in the northern Ibaraki prefecture. “It was a delicious white ale with spices and fruit,” he says. “For me it was shocking.”

Tanaka’s livelihood now depends on giving others a similar jolt. Since he opened Craft Beer Market in Tokyo’s Toranomon district…

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