The History Of Sapporo Breweries In Japan
The first batch of Sapporo beer was brewed in Sapporo Japan by Seibei Nakagawa. Sapporo is Japan’s oldest beer brand, as Nakagawa founded the brewery in 1876.
Nakagawa actually learned the craft of brewing beer in Germany, and when Hokkaido formed its Hokkaido Development Commission to expand, Nakagawa was given the opportunity to share his talents.
The brewery was known as Kaitakushi until 1886 when the company went private and changed its name to Sapporo Brewery Company.
Shortly after, Sapporo saw competition from the Japan Beer Brewing Company, which had launched the successful Yebisu beer. A couple of other Japanese breweries joined the competition too, but in 1906, all of them merged into the Dai-Nippon Beer Company.
However, in 1949, the company would split up again, with Nippon becoming one brewery and Asahi becoming another.
Nippon was brewing Sapporo and changed its name back to Sapporo Breweries in 1964. Yebisu, which was a barley beer and a big hit in Japan, became its own brand and relaunched in 1971, though it’s still owned by Sapporo.
Sapporo Breweries Today
Sapporo has expanded across Japan, with five breweries in total across the country. Internationally, Sapporo owns the Sleeman brewery in Canada and has a Sapporo brewery in the United States, specifically in Wisconsin.
Throughout the years, Sapporo has continued to expand, acquiring other breweries to become a true powerhouse in the beer market.
Types Of Sapporo Beer
Sapporo Breweries has released a plethora of products for beer lovers, from mainstays for the brand to limited-release products.
One of the things that make Sapporo stand apart from other Japanese beer is their use of aroma hops to make sure they maximize flavor and the overall experience of their beer.
The most well-known products include the Sapporo Premium Beer, which also happens to be the biggest Asian beer in the United States. For one looking for a more mellow premium beer, the Sapporo Premium Light is a great option.
The Sapporo Reserve beer is an all-malt beer for those who like a heavier mouthfeel and flavor profile.
The Sapporo Premium Black Beer is also another huge hit, with a bold hit of flavor that is just right. Sapporo also produces a non-alcoholic beer and a seltzer, as well as a low-calorie beer.
From beer connoisseurs to individuals who enjoy occasional alcoholic beverages in Japan, there is a Sapporo beer for them. Even if you’re not a big beer drinker, Sapporo’s clean finish and mild taste are worth a try.
Where To See Sapporo Breweries In Japan
The main headquarters of Sapporo Breweries is in Ebisu, a part of the Shibuya district in Tokyo. There are also several breweries throughout Japan, and they each offer their own unique experiences for tourists.
Not all of the breweries in Japan will allow you to go through them for tours, but that doesn’t make them any less of an experience should you happen to be close to any of the locations during your trip to Japan.
The Hokkaido brewery is an expansive Sapporo location with so much to do and see apart from beer.
You can take a free tour of the brewery to get a unique look at the beer brewing process and check out the guest shop afterward for some exclusive souvenirs.
If you’re hungry afterward, the Valhalla Restaurant is a true dining delight, with the famous Genghis Khan mutton dish and so much more.
You can also try your hand at park golf at the nearby course, which is a compelling take on regular golf.
No matter the season, you’ll want to take a stroll through the biotope, where you’ll find an excess of breathtaking greenery, florals, and a plethora of birds.
There’s also a koi pond with schools of koi and carp and a host of dragonflies and special birds in the summer.
The Sendai brewery in Miyagi Prefecture doesn’t have tours inside the facility, but there is a lovely beer garden outside for you to enjoy a couple of brews and some Japanese fare.
The beer garden is actually situated inside a space designed after a German home, with outside seating available overlooking breathtaking water and surrounding greenery.
The experience of touring the Chiba brewery is unique, as you have a couple of different tours you can book while learning about the Sapporo Kuro label.
The space itself is very modern and boutique-looking, with an accompanying space where you can try some Sapporo Kuru or Yebisu beer.
There’s also a small shop and a stunning beer garden at this location in the Chiba Prefecture.
The Shizuoka brewery is the location where a lot of the science behind the beer is looked into, and as such, there are no tours of this brewery offered. If you happen to be in the Shizuoka Prefecture, it’s worth taking a trip to the brewery to explore the biotope.
You can see almost 100 types of trees, extensive wildlife, and, depending on which season you’re there in, some 2000-year-old lotus flowers.
At the Nasu brewery in Togichi Prefecture, there are a wealth of activities and things to explore despite not being able to tour the facilities.
You can sign up for a workshop and learn how to make delicious Sapporo beer and have the finished product sent to you. Nearby, the Nasu Forest is an inviting area of natural beauty.
This particular brewery in the Oita Prefecture is very large and is the premier spot for Sapporo beer production for the Japanese market and the rest of Asia.
There’s a spacious lounge in the facility for you to sip on premium beer, as well as a gallery where you can learn more about Sapporo’s history and the making of some of their specific beer.
The Sapporo Beer Museum
Interestingly enough, the Sapporo Beer Museum can be found in a former brewery. If you’re making your way through Hokkaido, stop by the city of Sapporo to visit the museum and see many other spots throughout the city.
The museum is free to guests, though the guided tours and beer tasting will cost you some yen.
The Sapporo Beer Museum was established in 1987 and is an interactive exploration of the process of beer-making in Japan and even more about Sapporo. If you want to try some Sapporo beer, you can purchase a tasting to enjoy after your tour.
There are also guided tours that take visitors through the museum, though those are only offered in Japanese as of right now. These tours are offered for a small fee, including a beer tasting at the end.
Sapporo Beer Garden
The Sapporo Beer Garden is located right next to the Sapporo Beer Museum. The garden is a gorgeous area filled with restaurants and beer halls.
Depending on the environment you’d like, there are several opportunities to eat delicious Japanese food and dishes alongside some Sapporo beer.
The beer halls are somewhat similar to a bar environment, and some offer both all-you-can-drink beer and all-you-can-eat dishes, so you can easily spend an eventful day at both the museum and the beer garden.
Tips For Visiting Sapporo And Its Breweries
If you planning a visit to Sapporo for the perfect beer, then the breweries who offer tasting events and have on-site establishments for the consumption of alcohol then you won’t be disappointed.
Just keep in mind the age to consume the varieties of the brand is 20 years of age. If your in the USA, then you can try beers made by sapporo USA, but these beers are commonly brewed in the US and not usually imported.
The loyal fans of these Sapporo-branded beers offer some of the best fine malt and high quality. If you’re visiting the many tap rooms in the area, you will want to try the many varieties of a new brewery and our personal favorite, a lime lager with a really clean taste.
Sapporo breweries have the highest quality standards, and as with any Japan beer brewery company, you can taste the perfection in every bottle.
The breweries are a perfect fusion of east meets west. These breweries do have a near monopoly in Japan and have unique partnership agreements with brewers across the globe.
The Japanese cultural values consistently produce large quantities that can easily compete with the best craft beer brands. Check with Sapporo u.s.a. to find a distributor or location to try some of Japan’s best beers.