Ji-Beer: Premium Craft Beer Imported from Japan

In recent years, popularity of premium micro-brewed beers has exploded worldwide.  Have you tried JI-BEER, the artisan craft beer, brewed in Japan?

From the Food Network programs, from travels to international destinations, and from immigrant influx introducing interesting ethnic cuisine, these have all embellished today’s American culinary landscape, fueling our knowledge and nourishing our gourmet IQ.  And recently, Ji-Beers are garnering high praise, its charm and appeal featured on major publications and at beer festivals.

Commercialization of Ji-Beer in Japan started in1994, soon after amendment of Japan’s Liquor Tax Act granting brewing license to small producers.  Echigo Brewery in Niigata was Japan’s first beer microbrewery with their launch of Koshihikari Beer in 1995, delivering qualities and flavors possible only through small-scale brewing techniques. Its intrigue expanded internationally with arrival on American soil in 2004, and to the delight of business owners and customers, Koshihikari Rice Lager landed quickly onto restaurant menu listing.


Appealing to the Consumers’ Mindset
KEY #1.   An offering away from the ordinary, but within the comfort zone

Settling at a restaurant table, “Toriaezu beer" or “I’ll just start with a beer” is a commonplace, but how exciting would it be if a dining customer could look forward to a special Ji-Beer and say “I’d like to try THAT beer”?  American consumers are already privy on artisan quality beers whether American or import, so listing Ji-Beer on the beverage menu would be an open invitation for customers to venture away from the routine and toward an exciting drinking experience, yet at the same time remain within the comfort of the familiar “beer” category.

Americans enjoy new experiences, including beer.

Currently, the worldwide beer favorite is the Lager Pilsner type, a light colored, smooth and crisp beer.  Of the 6,000 years’ history of beer, Lagers are a fairly new style of beer, with experts predicting its continued market dominance.

However, aside from these modern Pilsners in distribution in Europe, there still remain 5,000 other old-style beers, ones with varying depths of flavors and unique charm.  Ji-Beer offers just that.  It’s the old-style brewing art revived as a fresh genre, offering an exciting drinking enjoyment that suits today’s consumers.


KEY #2. Putting Gourmet IQ to the Challenge

1) Try a new concept: “Everyday beer” versus “Season’s Special Beer”

Traditional Japanese cuisine is based on what nature brings fresh to the kitchen, ingredients and colors revolving around the four seasons. There’s a similar pattern with beer: Pilsners suit warmer seasons of spring and summer rather than the cooler autumn and winter seasons.  By understanding each of the characteristics and by selecting the offerings carefully, Ji-Beer can greatly enhance and add value to a customers’ dining experience.


2) Treat Ji-Beers like wines and try food pairings

Drinking a Lager all throughout the meal is like drinking an inexpensive wine for the entire meal.  The unique flavor characteristics of the microbrews offer an element of surprise, a value added dining experience, when served with varying food pairings.  Treat Ji-Beers like wines.  Create signature Ji-Beer paring dishes or Ji-Beer course meals, for instance.



The ZAGAT rankings of Los Angeles restaurants show a strong representation of Japanese restaurants, reflecting the general consumers’ appeal to Japanese food.  And in the Japanese foodservice trade, the “Imported from Japan” seal carries a lot more weight than simply quality assurance, and offers an element of cultural exploration.  So, with craft beers originating in the Western culture, how is a Japan brewed craft beer regarded?  It seems that Americans are intrigued over the “Japan-ness”, that element of unexpected surprise and quality craftsmanship delivered with every sip.  Ji-Beers are still a well-kept secret, but rapidly growing in popularity among American beer fans.  And Japanese restaurant operators are also finding business upsides in adding “Genuine Japan Brew Ji-Beers” to the beverage listing.


Key #4. Ji-Beer for this season

Which food best matches each beer type for this summer?

For Lager type, its subtle spice and the exquisite bitterness pairs well with lightly salted squid, Yaki Tori, edamame and shishito especially for hot summer days.


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