Kirin Brewery, Yokohama, c. 1930.

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Kirin Brewery, Yokohama, c. 1930.

The Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd., Yokohama
A Beer That Has Won A Great Name Throughout the Far East and is Esteemed with the Famous European Beers

“For nearly a generation, beer has been produced in Japan, and the name of ‘Kirin’ has been prominent in connection with this agreeable, beneificial and highly popular beverage.

Kirin Beer advertisement, 1915. [Source: The Far East, June 26, 1915.]

“The history of this famous Brewery is inseparably connected with that of the growth and development of one of Japan’s greatest industrial interests. The Company was originally registered in Hongkong in 1885 in the [name] of the Japan Brewery Company.

“… In 1899 the Company was re-registered in Japan [and in] January 1907, a technical change was made in the name of the Company which became the Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. Its capital now amounts to ¥2,500,000, which is fifty times the original amount, while the works are capable of producing 4,000,000 gallons, which is fifty-three times the original output.

“… During the past few years, the exportation of Kirin Beer has developed enormously, but the increase has gone on by leaps and bounds since the outbreak of the Great War. Before the present war, German beer had been extensively consumed throughout India, Malay States, Dutch Indies and Australia, but since the supply from this source has been entirely cut off, Kirin and other Japanese beers are demanded in its place.

Kirin Beer advertisement, 1921. [Source: The Far East, Jan. 29, 1921]

“Everywhere preference is given to ‘Kirin’ as the only Japanese Beer that compares favourably with famous European Brews. And when the facts are examined, this confidence in the genuineness and high quality of Kirin Beer is found to be well based. Indeed Kirin Beer is now, and was from the first, prepared from the best of materials and by a method and apparatus highly scientific. What the future will be is a closed book, but it looks as if the Company which-produces the best beer will hold the winning hand.

“It is well worth mentioning here that the ability and undivided attention of the Company’s sole agents, the Meidiya Co., Ltd., have had a great deal to do with its prosperous development, and with its establishment in the favour and confidence of the public.”

The Far East, June 26, 1915

“The Bottling Room”, Kirin Brewery, Yokohama, c. 1930.

“We halted at Ubaguchi, the first village we reached on entering the plain – there was no inn, but we were told that we could get some rice at a little general store.

“We had exhausted the packet of sandwiches, and were quite ready for the dried fish and boiled rice the store-keeper was able to prepare for us. He also — blessed man! — fished some bottles of Kirin beer out of a well, and handed us two glasses. I pointed out to him that there were three of us, and he explained that he possessed a third glass, but that it was so precious to him that he never produced it unless obliged to do so. He fetched it, however, and I asked the G.P.F. to try and find out why this particular glass should be so much prized, for it was but a common little tumbler.

“After clearing a space on the matting of the clogs, straw sandals, and what not else that littered it, he squatted down, fanned the flies off our dried fish, and told us the following story:

“‘While serving in Manchuria during the late war [Russo-Japanese War] I had brought a wounded Russian into our camp, and I was told off to look after him. I became very fond of my prisoner, who was a peasant, like myself, and I did what I could to relieve him in his sufferings.

“The poor fellow was too badly hurt to recover, but before he died he asked me to search in his greatcoat for a vodka-glass he had, and, when I found it, he said: ‘Take this. It is a poor offering to make in return for what you have done, but it is the only thing in this world that I possess.’ You can’t wonder, then, gentlemen, that I value this little tumbler.’

“… I left his little store feeling better pleased with human nature generally. I even thought I felt my blister less, but possibly the Kirin beer may have had something to do with it.”

Japan and the Japanese, by William Tyndale, 1910

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