The World Beer Cup held their biennial celebration of craft beer this year in Minneapolis, Minnesota after skipping the event in 2020 due to the global pandemic. In 2008 there were 644 breweries and 2,864 beers entered in the competition. The 2022 event—the largest to date despite travel uncertainties and the two year hiatus—saw 2,493 breweries enter more than ten thousand of their finest brews across 103 styles.
Breweries from 57 countries were competing for the coveted awards and Japan was well represented, entering the third most beers in the competition (293), just edging out Germany (253), and only trailing the United States (8,058) and Canada (408). The growing number of entries may astonish casual craft beer enthusiasts, but as Steve Parr, Brewers Association Export Development Program Manager, notes, the groundswell of good beer flowing in across the Pacific has been slowly building.
”It’s no surprise that craft beer has thrived in Japan in recent years. Many of the traits associated with craft beer like quality ingredients, full flavor, art and creativity, are appreciated by the Japanese consumer. Combined with changes in legislation that increased access to market and the ability to operate a small brewery, the stage has been set for Japanese craft brewers to carve out their own innovation and commitment to creating products that beer drinkers enjoy not just in Japan, but that resonate globally. In fact, more U.S. craft brewers export to Japan than any other country because of it,” he says.
American breweries took home the majority of the awards followed by Canada, Germany and Japan. Six Japanese breweries were recognized for their fine brews with Akita’s Aqula Brauhaus taking home Gold for their Namahage IPA in the International India Pale Ale category, Miyazaki’s Hideji-Beer won a Gold Medal for their Kuri Kuro (Dark Chestnut Ale) in the Specialty Beer category, Chiba’s Harvest Moon also was awarded Gold in the Export or German-style Oktoberfest and Wakayama’s Heiwa Shuzou received the top award for their Heiwa Craft Red Ale in the Irish-Style Red Ale category. Other winners from Japan were two Yamanashi breweries, Far Yeast Brewing, who also has a Tokyo Brewery and Grill, won Bronze in the Specialty Saison category with their Tokyo White, while Outsider Brewing in Kofu also took home Bronze for their Sith Imperial Stout in the British-Style Imperial Stout category. A hearty kampai to all the Japanese craft breweries who entered and continue to devote their passion to creating tasty brews for craft beer lovers in Japan.
JAPAN’S 2022 WINNERS
Akita City, Akita
Far Yeast Brewing
Kosuge, Yamanashi / Shinagawa, Tokyo