Kirin Group will work on improving the quality and stable procurement of Japanese hops and brew unique beers that can only be made with them while contributing to the revitalization of key producing areas.
Enjoy beer made with Japanese hop
What is Hop?
Hops are a climbing, perennial member of the hemp family that are used to add flavor and aroma to beer. What is used for beer brewing is the yellow pollen "lupulin" found inside the strobili on female plants. It provides the "bitterness" and "aroma" characteristic to beer, and it also acts as a foam stabilizer and preservative.
Status of Japanese hops
Japanese hops have a unique flavor profile and expand the possibilities of beer. However, the growers are aging and there is a lack of successors, leading to a major decline in the annual harvest compared to peak levels.
If nothing is done soon, beer brewed using Japanese hops may disappear in the near future.
Kirin has been involved in Japanese hops since experimental cultivation began almost 100 years ago, and we intend to continue creating an exciting future for beer in which consumers can enjoy beer brewed using Japanese hops. Based on this desire, we have started working with hops growers to protect Japanese hops.
Why Kirin take action
Almost 100 years have passed since hops were first experimentally grown in Japan. During this time, Kirin has continued to work together with the growers to pursue beer brewing with a focus on quality hops, which are the soul of beer. Today, we purchase about 70% of Japan's harvest every year. The volume is limited, and Japanese hops are receiving increased attention from the craft beer segment given the ability to use freshly harvested hops. Craft beer places importance on diversity, and the use of new varieties and processing techniques further expands the appeal. Given our long history with the hops growing regions, we want to take on the responsibility of creating a bright future for Japanese hops. At the same time, we want consumers to be better informed about the appeal, enjoyment and possibilities of Japanese hops.
IBUKI is an improved variety of "Shinshuwase", which was created by crossing the German "Saaz" with the American "White Vine". (Excerpt from the Nippon Kogyo Shimbun article Hops, the flower of beer)
Its main characteristic is the vibrant aroma. The strong, pure floral aroma is apparent in the beer even when used in small amounts.
This rare variety was developed by Atsushi Murakami, a former world-class hops scientist of Kirin.
Its pleasant aroma has hints of "mandarin orange" and "figs". During the growing season, there is no need to "lower the vines" to improve sunlight, reducing the burden on growers. Given this feature, there are increasing expectations it will become one of the main hops varieties in the future.
Our beer made with Japanese hop
Tono hops and town planning
Kirin is working with Tono City in Iwate Prefecture, which has been growing hops for over 50 years, to revitalize the local community by leveraging the value of hops under the theme of "transform from the home of hops to the home of beer".
Yokote hops and town planning
Kirin is working with Yokote City in Akita Prefecture to secure sustainable hops production and revitalize the local community through hops in order to create a future in which hops are viewed to be a local treasure.
Kirin Group takes initiatives to maintain a stable harvest of Japanese hops with the growers. You can see our initiatives in local societies.(Japanese)