There is no mistaking the popularity of Japanese drinks across Australia right now.

While sake has always been a steady product, Japanese whisky and beer have exploded in recent years.

Well-known Japanese whiskies Yamazaki, Hibiki and Nikka have been claiming awards and fans around the world of late. Many of the pioneering Japanese distillers learned their craft in Scotland, before coming back to Japan and creating their own local products.

It’s a very similar story with Japanese beers.

In 2016 and 2017 Asian beers grew by 21.4 per cent and 19 per cent respectively in the Australian off-premise markets, as Australian consumers recognised the quality and the story behind many of these brands.

Many Japanese brewers had similar experiences to their distilling counterparts and actually headed to Germany in order to understand the high standards that need to go into creating premium beers. They then brought those skills back to Japan, where their own high standards and attention to detail were applied to create their own Japanese-style beer.

The pioneer of Japanese brewing was a man called Seibei Nakagawa, who left Japan aged 17, at a time when Japan was a closed country and the threat of the death penalty hung over those who left the country. He trained with German brewmasters, before managing to return to Japan.

He became the first brewmaster of the Kaitakushi Brewery in June 1876 and produced the first Sapporo Lager.

Sapporo is Japan’s oldest beer brand and remains an authentically Japanese product with a strong heritage, high brewing standards and an attention to detail that means it is still a premium, refined beer.

Sapporo is one of the leading growth drivers in the Asian beer category and has seen consecutive years of double-digit growth.

The beer is also focusing on the year ahead, with its famous “Legendary Biru” marketing campaign set to launch in Australia ahead of Christmas and the summer months.

Speaking about this campaign and the plans for the year ahead, Sapporo’s Brand Manager, Andrew Brooks, said: “This campaign is an opportunity for Sapporo to tell the legendary origin story of Japan’s oldest beer brand. We’ll do this through unique experiences, deeper engagement and support for our trade partners and of course perfectly poured Sapporo beer. Ultimately we want to be seen as the most authentic Japanese beer on the market.”

Maintaining the heritage of precision brewing borne of traditional German styles with modern Japanese standards and techniques, means Sapporo’s brewers are now regular visitors to Australia. The team make sure that the beer brewed here is brewed to exactly the same standards and precision as it is in Japan, and this helps to make sure that the beer is the freshest it can be for Australian consumers.

It works as well, with the beer known for its clean and crisp taste seeing a 30 per cent dollar uplift in 2017, which was nearly a threefold increase versus 2016.

Speaking about what retailers can look forward to from Sapporo as a result of the new campaign, Brooks added: “You can expect a big push through summer including outdoor, digital partnerships, sampling, retail promotions and a continued focus on the Sapporo perfect pour on-premise. The summer season is rounded out with our sponsorship of St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in February. It’s a jam packed season which is sure to have Sapporo top of mind around the country.”

Sapporo’s long Japanese history, story and heritage make it a perfect product for the Australian market right now, and with increased support behind the brand in Australia, it’s exciting times for all involved and for more information on how you can make the most of this push, contact Premium Beverages on 1300 555 166.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.