A brief note about Japanese Beer Brands

Talking about Japanese alcoholic beverages, the first and probably the only thing that pops up in the mind of people is Sake. However, there are numerous types of beers waiting for you to explore. The most difficult thing about discovering Japanese Beer is that you may not have so many chances to find them outside Japan. If you are planning to visit Japan and experience some of the finest beers here, do not hesitate to scroll down and grab some basic information before the trip. In today’s blog, we will walk you through 9 best Japanese Beer Brands.

A brief note about Japanese Beer Brands

1. History Of Japanese Beer

Beer first appeared in Japan in the 17th century when Dutch traders in Nagasaki started a beer hall for sailors. However, it was not until 1853 that the first beer is made in Japan. It was believed that Koumin Kawamoto, a doctor, had followed a Dutch recipe book in an attempt to brew beer. In 1876, Sapporo Breweries established, becoming the first Japanese beer brand. A few years later, the beer market in Japan started to bloom with the appearance of many beer companies across the nation. Since then, along with Sake, beer has become the most popular alcoholic drink in Japan. In fact, the consumption of beer has exceeded that of Sake from the beginning of the 20th century.

Japanese Beer Brands

The consumption of beer here has exceeded that of Sake in the beginning of the 20th century.

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2. Top 10 Major Japanese Beer Brands

Four big Japanese Beer Brands are Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin and Suntory The Malt’s. They have dominated beer market for quite a long time. However, there are still some smaller in size but not less special brands. Here are top 10 best Japanese Beer Brands.

2.1. Asahi Super Dry

Asahi Super Dry is the most popular Japanese beer. Since 1987, Asahi has become the pride of Japan in the production of alcoholic beverages. It has always led the list of best-selling beer in Japan, as well as become one of the most exported Japanese beer products in the global market. The excellent quality of the strictly selected barley with the most rigorous criteria and brewing techniques with advanced machines are two key factors that eliminate almost all the sugar in barley, creating a characteristic bitter beer, rich and delicate flavor. Asahi attracts people around the world as it gives a refreshing feeling and no headache after drinking.

best japanese beer

Asahi Super Dry is the most popular Japanese beer

2.2. Sapporo Beer

As mentioned above, Sapporo is the oldest Japanese beer brand. Moreover, it is claimed the best Japanese beer in the US. On a luxurious golden background, Sapporo’s star symbol of “Pioneering Spirit” is prominently printed, representing high quality. Sapporo Beer is made from natural ingredients with advanced technology standards in Japan. It has a unique refreshing flavor. You will feel the smooth taste once the foam and beer touch the tip of your tongue. It will help you reach a state of relaxation, refreshment and full of sublimation emotions after every sip. If you are in Japan, do not hesitate to try it out. Go to any convenient store nearby and grab a Sapporo beer can to have your own experience. This product can also be found in over 60 countries worldwide.

best japanese beer

Sapporo is the oldest Japanese beer brand

2.3. Kirin Beer

Kirin Beer has been around for more than 100 years. It is famous for light bittersweet taste. In comparison with Sapporo, Kirin seems to have stronger beer flavor.

Besides, it also produces alcohol-free beer products. The most famous product must be Kirin Perfect Free. The biggest feature of this one is its soluble plant fiber content which effectively inhibits the absorption of fat or sugar during meals. Moreover, it can promote the absorption of minerals. Therefore, many people prefer to drink Kirin Perfect Free during a meal.

 popular japanese beer

Kirin is famous for light bittersweet taste

2.4. Suntory The Premium Malt’s

The premium Malt’s is a top-quality pilsner beer produced by one of the biggest breweries in Japan – Suntory. The Premium Malt’s is made with carefully selected hops and malt, using a method called “double boiler”, in which the immersion liquid is heated twice to ensure the elegant floral aroma and rich flavor.

Japanese Beer Brands

The premium malt’s is a top quality pilsner beer

2.5. Orion Beer

Orion Beer is a famous craft Japanese beer, originated in Okinawa. Many people pick Orion beer as their favorite alcoholic drink as it has a uniquely sour and strong taste of beer. In comparison to Asahi or Sapporo, it somewhat tastes a little maltier. Though Orion ranks fifth on the list of top major beer companies in Japan, it is not quite easy to find one can of Orion Beer in convenient stores. If you happen to see Orion Beer during your trip here, do not miss your chance to try it!

 popular japanese beer

Orion Beer is a famous craft Japanese beer, originated in Okinawa

2.6. Yebisu Beer

The Yebisu Beer is a luxurious beer brand from Sapporo Breweries Company. The reason behind its high price is that 100% of ingredients are imported from Germany. The brewing process is extremely strict to create delicate aroma and flavor for the product. Drinker can capture the deep and rich flavor of Yebisu beer from the first sip. Therefore, Yebisu is popular among both local and foreign beer enthusiasts.

Japanese Beer Brands

The Yebisu Beer is a luxurious beer brand from Sapporo Breweries Company

2.7. Yona Yona Ale

Yona Yona Ale is a pale ale brewed by Yo-Ho Brewing Company. The word Yona Yona in Japanese means “every night”.

It is brewed with a large amount of premium Cascade hops. This beer is very easy and smooth to drink. There is almost no bitterness so it is suitable for people who do not like the bitter taste of beer or any beginner. Its uniqueness has been enjoyed by many Japanese beer fans and has made it become one of the most famous craft beer in Japan.

Japanese Beer Brands

2.8. Hitachi No Nest White Ale

Next, Hitachi No Nest White Ale! It is an outstanding product brewed by Kiuchi Brewery. The beer is brewed through traditional Belgian-style brewing methods with main ingredients including nutmeg, orange juice, coriander, orange peel, lager malts, wheat hops, etc. Hitachi No Nest White Ale has an appealing cloudy orange color with a small yet white creamy head. Meanwhile, its taste is very light and refreshing. With a bottle of White Ale, you can easily cool down the heat of summer hazes in Japan.

Japanese Beer Brands

Hitachi No Nest White Ale

2.9. Hideji Beer

Kuri Kuro Hideji Beer means Dark Chestnut Ale. It is a Japanese alcoholic beer produced by Hideji Beer Brewery. Different from other beers mentioned above, Kuri Kuro has a dark brown color. Its color may not be appealing at first glance but its flavor is fantastic! People can easily feel the strong taste of hazelnuts, marshmallows, vanilla, and cocoa in just one sip. With 9% ABV, Kuri Kuro is definitely a suitable option for anyone who would like to get drunk in Japan!

 japanese beer brand

Hideji Beer


After reading this blog, hopefully, you have some ideas about Japanese Beer Brands. So have you made your choice yet? Which one do you want to try the most among the list mentioned above? Please feel free to share with us your opinion.


About Haruto Suzuki

Haruto Suzuki is a senior food and drinks blogger at Question Japan. He has a background in F&B industry and also experience of running his own Japanese restaurant in Tokyo for over 10 years. Therefore, he has a great knowledge of Japanese cuisine. So if you want to discover Japan through its unique traditional cuisine, Haruto Suzuki’s blog will be a great source of information for you.