Yebisu is a beer made by the Sapporo company with the goal of making an authentic German beer.
Yebisu was first made with German brew masters in 1890 using imported equipment from Germany (//www.sapporobeer.jp/) for the purpose to introduce authentic German Beer to the people of Japan without having to import it. Yebisu still follows the Bavarian Purity Law which was established in 1516, the longest running food safety law used today (//www.sapporobeer.jp/). The name Yebisu come from the Shinto God Ebisu (恵比須, 恵比寿, 夷, 戎) god of fishermen, good luck and working men considered one of the seven gods of luck (Ebisu (mythology) 2022).
The First Yebisu brewery was made in October 1889 in what is now Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo. By December of the same year, after importing the required equipment from Germany and also hiring several Baumeister (Brew masters) from Germany too, the brewery was ready for production. Yebisu quickly became popular among the people of Japan and many other smaller breweries starting popping up around Japan, but these didn’t last more then a few years while Yebisu was praised for its quality and it became a household name making imported beers less popular. As Yebisu became more popular around Japan, counterfeit products starting to come to the market a testament on how popular the beer was. (//www.sapporobeer.jp/).
Brewing Science and Industrialization
Unlike most of the world Japan entered the industrial revolution in 1868 out of necessity to remain an independent land, because at this time Japan was still divided into around 270 domains with their only leaders and military, so the Meiji government came to the conclusion that if they didn’t unite under a sole political power and making japan a modern state, or they risk becoming a colony under control of a greater powers, so many government officials set of to Europe and the United states to observe how they are industrialized. This lead to many foreign concepts and products to be imported into Japan, including beer, which was not made or available in Japan at the time (Atsushi, 2020).
The WWI and WWII Era
During World War 1, the war stayed away form Japan soil so the war didn’t effect them as much as the US or Europe, but with the the prohibition in the US, Japan saw an increase in brewing equipment sent from the States which lead to the formation of many rival breweries(Christie, 2019).
By the end of World War 2, Japan has implemented more regulations in the sale of beer, with price control, a minimum amount of beer manufactured to receive a license and the creation of Brewers Association of Japan as distribution control (Christie, 2019).
Atsushi, K. (2020, May 30). Japan’s Industrial Revolution. nippon.com. Retrieved March 13, 2022, from https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-topics/b06904/japan%E2%80%99s-industrial-revolution.html
Christie, J. (2019). Sapporo. Beer Through the Ages. Retrieved March 13, 2022, from https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/gned1478/chapter/sapporo/
//www.sapporobeer.jp/. (n.d.). 1890 the emergence of Yebisu Beer: History: Sapporo Breweries. SAPPORO BREWERIES LIMITED. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.sapporobeer.jp/english/company/history/1890.html
//www.sapporobeer.jp/. (n.d.). Yebisu: Sapporo Breweries Ltd.. サッポロビール株式会社. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://www.sapporobeer.jp/yebisu/english/
(2022, January 25). Ebisu (mythology). Wikipedia. Retrieved February 6, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebisu_(mythology)