TOUR TO SAPPORO BREWERY IN CHIBA, 18 May 2005
The Sapporo Brewery in Chiba took over the operations from the brewery in Ebisu (now Ebisu Garden Place) in 1988 and produces some 1,226 kiloliters of beer every day, i.e. about 3.6 million cans per day. But amazingly, it is operated by only 130 people.

In the presentation by Mr. Syouzo Katagiri, Manager at the International Department, he explained that Sapporo Brewery Ltd. has four major brands. The Sapporo Black Label is their main brand, representing 37 % of their sales. Yebisu, a 100 % malt beer is their premium brand, Hokkaido Nanashibori is their main happoshu brand and Draft One, brewed from pea protein is their main new category brand, which sold 18 million cases in 2004.

Even though consumption of beer, and beer like products, have been slightly decreasing over the last few years, they still account for a substantial part of the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Japan. In 2004 beer held 40 % of the market, Happoshu (low-malt beer) 24 % and new category brands (non-malt products) 3 %, i.e. in all 67 %. In comparison, shochu had 11 %, sake 9 %, spirits 8 % and wine only 3 % of the market.

The beer market trend is that sales of beer is decreasing, happoshu will start decreasing and the new category (Draft One in Sapporo's case) will increase. The trend is partly due to change in taste, Japanese young people tend to prefer lighter taste and lower alcohol content, but perhaps mainly because of lower price, due to lower tax on low-malt and non-malt products. In Japan, the tax on regular beer is 78 yen per case, for happoshu 47 yen and for the new category only 36 yen.

Our thanks goes to Mr. Katagiri and Mr. Yokomaku of Sapporo Brewery for accepting our visit and for excellent guidance and hospitality, and also to Vaisala K.K. and Sanko Tsusho who helped us to arrange this trip though their business connections with Sapporo Brewery Ltd.

IMAGES FROM THE EVENT
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Arriving at the Sapporo Brewery...
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..and walking inside
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The tour starts
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Explaining about the beer ingredients
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More explanations...
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Tasting the barley.
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The fermentation and maturation tanks hold the equivalent of 1,7 million cans of beer....
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The brewing tanks. This was the last picture we were allowed to take in the production facilities....
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Listening to the presentation about the beer market....
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...by Syouzo Katagiri from the International Department
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Group photo before going into the tasting room
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Soon....
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Lining up of beer and tasters
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The first taste,
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Juhana Häkkänen of Vaisala K.K. with Kazuyuki Yokomaku of Sapporo Brewery (left)
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The beer tasting bar att Sapporo
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FCCJ President Mika Mäkinen thanks the hosts...
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..and presents Mr. Katagiri with a small present.
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Juhana Häkkänen presents our special gift, a six-pack of Lapin Kulta beer!
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Mr. Yokomaku accepts the gift
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After the tour the participants enjoyed a yakiniku party at the Sapporo Beer Hall...
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...in "nomihoudai" and "tabehoudai" style
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