BOOZE, Ronin, Sunday's Grocery, Yardbird • Jan 12, 2017
Hitachino Nest Beer is one of Japan’s largest craft brewers and here at Yardbird, we’ve been serving their beer since day one. With a cult following in the United States and beers distributed to over 30 countries, it’s safe to say that Hitachino Nest has made its mark on the international beer scene in a short amount of time. In August 2016, they opened a brewery in Hong Kong and last month, the Yardbird crew was invited for a tour. Not only did we learn about Hitachino Nest and their production systems, we got to taste some seriously delicious beers.
About Hitachino Nest Beer
Hitachino Nest Beer started in Kousnosu, in Ibaraki prefecture. Hitachino was the province in ancient Japan which covered the area of the brewery – it was famous for fertile soil and the “Su” in “Kounosu” means nest (hence the name Hitachino Nest Beer). The iconic owl logo was inspired by the abundance of owls in the area.
How Hitachino Nest Beer Was Born
Japanese craft beer is relatively new as Japan had a strict alcohol tax law that only allowed four large breweries to brew beer. In 1994, the law was relaxed and Kiuchi Brewery decided to start a small beer brewery. Despite having eight generations of sake brewing under its belt, Kiuchi knew almost nothing about beer production. In September 1996, Hitachino Nest produced their first beer and by 1997, they won their first award in an international beer competition.
Hitachino Nest’s Hong Kong Brewery
To meet outstanding and increasing demand, Hitachino Nest Beer decided to open a brewery in Hong Kong with local partners. With only 7,500 square feet in Fo Tan, this brewery not only helps supply Asian customers, it also brews limited-edition beers for the Hong Kong market. The Hong Kong brewery is run by Christopher Wong, one of the founders of HK Brewcraft (a home-brew company), who showed the Yardbird team their brewing and bottling equipment and even let us try a Hong Kong created beer straight from the tank. Hitachino Nest’s Japan-based brewmaster, Kouji Tani, also visits the Fo Tan brewery regularly.
The next time you’re at Yardbird, make sure to try some of Japan’s best craft brews with our range of Hitachino Nest beers. You can also visit Hong Kong’s Hitachino Nest brewery and tasting room in Fo Tan, which are both open to the public on Saturdays.