Craft beer, also known as "local beer," has become popular in many regions in recent years. Craft beer, with its rich local character, is also attracting attention as a local delicacy.
Did you know there are more than 10 craft beer breweries in the City of Yokohama (as of September 2022)?
Even looking around all of Japan, it is rare to find a city with such a large number of breweries, making Yokohama truly a "city of craft beer”. But the relationship between Yokohama and beer did not begin just recently. Actually, Yokohama is an indispensable part of the history of beer in Japan.
Yokohama is the “birthplace of Japanese beer culture”
The history of Yokohama dates back to 1859. About that time American diplomat Townsend Harris had concluded the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the Edo shogunate, and the port of Yokohama had just opened.
The opening of the port of Yokohama made it the gateway to Japan, bringing in a variety of foreign cultures. In 1870, William Copeland, a Norwegian of American nationality, established Japan's first beer brewery, Spring Valley Brewery, on a hill in Yamate, Yokohama. This brewery laid the foundation for the Japanese beer industry, and Yokohama is now known as the "birthplace of Japanese beer culture”.
This brewery was eventually purchased by the Japan Brewery Company, founded by Yanosuke Iwasaki and Eiichi Shibusawa, then following to launch Kirin Beer, a German-style lager beer, in 1888, which became a hit.
Kirin Brewery Company took over this business, leading to today’s Kirin Brewery Company, Ltd.
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Nowadays, Yokohama holds a variety of events throughout the city to further promote its "beer culture”. Each brewery is rooted in its local community, and attracts people from within Japan and abroad with its unique beer brewing style.
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