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Beer in mind

— Japan


High taxes and rigid regulation have made it a tough sell for Japan’s artisan beer makers. But increasingly astute drinkers are starting to appreciate the superior quality product micro-breweries have to offer.

Ale, Beer, Brewerie, Brewing, Drinking, Lager, Quality

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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