Asahi Brewery Fukushima || アサヒビール福島工場



Last year, I wrote about my experience visiting the Yebisu Beer Museum near Ebisu station in Tokyo.





Recently, I visited Asahi Beer's Fukushima Brewery for the first time. Fukushima Prefecture is famous for its sake, where the Fukushima Sake Brewers Cooperative consists of nearly 60 sake breweries. Moreover, the Annual Japan Sake Awards has awarded the prefecture the most gold prizes of all of Japan for four years running as of 2016! Given this longstanding reputation for sake breweries, I was very excited to learn about how beer breweries might compare.


Read on for more information about the Asahi Brewery tour and my experience!


最近、アサヒ福島工場を初めて訪れました。 福島県は、福島酒造協同組合が約60酒蔵で構成されていることから有名らしいです。 また、毎年恒例の日本酒賞は、2012年~2016年の4年間にわたり、全国で最も多く金賞を授与されました! とても評価のあるビール醸造所ですので、ビールと日本酒がどのように比較されるかを知ることに興味がありました。











About Asahi Beer and Asahi Breweries



Founded in Osaka in 1889, Asahi is Japan’s largest of four major beer producers with approximately 40% market share. (Followed by Kirin Beer with 35% and Suntory with 15%.) Its headquarters are now in Sumida-ku, Tokyo. Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. also produces whisky under the brand “Nikka” as well as a range of soft drinks.



The company's flagship beer, from 1957 until the late 1980s, was Asahi Gold.

In 1987, Asahi launched the world’s first “dry” beer called Asahi Super Dry, a product that transformed the modern beer industry in Japan. Described as a crisp, dry beer similar to some northern German beers, Asahi Super Dry became Japan’s best-selling beer by early 2017.




アサヒは1987年、日本の現代のビール産業を変えた「アサヒ・スーパー・ドライ」という世界初の「ドライビール」を発売しました。 ドイツ北部のいくつかのビールに似て味覚の鮮明なドライビールと言われる「アサヒ・スーパー・ドライ」は、2017年初頭に日本で最も売れたビールになりました。



Did you know? 


Asahi was the beer company that first introduced and sold canned beer to consumers in Japan with their release of canned Asahi Gold in 1958.



Remake of the first ever canned beer in Japan: Asahi Gold released in 1958.







Visiting the Asahi Brewery Fukushima




Asahi Brewery Fukushima is located in Fukushima Prefecture’s Motomiya City. The plant holds six tours each day and receives approximately 50,000 visitors each year.


アサヒビール福島は福島県の本宮市にあります。 工場は毎日6回のツアーを開催し、毎年約5万人の訪問者を迎えているそうです。


By participating in a brewery tour, a special guide will accompany and walk you through the entire brewing process. The tour also features video presentations about Asahi Breweries, exhibits of different beer ingredients and a tour of the production process, finished off with an abundant tasting of Asahi beers. The tour was about 75 minutes in length, including the 20 minutes for beer tasting.








There are 8 Asahi Breweries in Japan, but Fukushima’s Asahi Brewery is the only Asahi Brewery in Tohoku situated next to an Asahi Beer Hall – making it well worth a visit before or after lunch next door! The Beer Hall serves food from11:00-21:00 (last order at 20:30).


日本には8つのアサヒビール工場がありますが、福島のアサヒビール工場では東北の唯一のアサヒビアホールです。ここは、昼食の前後に工場見学ツアーを行ってから訪れる価値があります。 ビアホールは1100から210020:30の最後のオーダー)まで営業しています。

We went for lunch before our tour at 1pm.




Let’s go on the Asahi Brewery Tour!


Meeting our tour guide~



Asahi Beer is Environmentally Friendly 

Asahi works to develop and protect local forests and natural water sources, as well as constantly researching to develop production methods that lead to further CO2 emission cuts.


For example, the Asahi Beer can lid uses 9% less aluminum than the average can, due to a special design development. This design allows the company to reduce their carbon emissions by approximately 9,000 tons!


※Also, I learned that Asahi’s staff uniforms are made using recycled material, and waste from the production cycle is sorted into 50 different recyclable categories before it is disposed of. Amazing!








例えば、アサヒビール缶の蓋は、特別なデザイン開発のために平均缶より9%少ないアルミニウムを使用します。 このデザインにより、会社は約9,000トンの炭素排出量を削減することができます!



また、アサヒのスタッフの制服はリサイクル材を使用して作っています。廃棄サイクル前の50種類のリサイクル可能なカテゴリに分類されている、材料を使用しています。 凄いですよね!






A wall lined with Asahi beer cans greets you at the entrance to the Brewery Tour




Part #1: Asahi History and Beer Ingredients Exhibit




The first part of the tour is a brief overview of the history of Asahi Breweries and the interactive ingredients exhibit. Here, you have the chance to actually touch, smell, and even nibble on some of the primary ingredients used in making beer, including the barley and hops!










Asahi has more than a hundred compliance criteria for the selection of the malted barley used for Asahi Super Dry, including specific requirements for grain species (e.g.: origin and germination methods).



Typically, only a minimal quantity of hops is used in lager production to add aroma, however, Asahi uses more hops than other beers to achieve the clear, elegant, yet slightly bitter taste in their signature Asahi Super Dry.



The Asahi yeast strain No. 318 is used to brew the Asahi Super Dry. This rare yeast yields outstanding fermentation and produces a complex aroma, resulting in the elegant and sophisticated flavor that ensures the distinctive pure, crisp, and dry taste of Asahi Super Dry.

Sophisticated brewing technology is required for the yeast to perform at their peak during the beer making process. Asahi continuously develops new technologies in pursuit of their “Karakuchi” taste.


Read more at “Inside Asahi


Nibbling on some of the barley was actually quite yummy and reminded me of Maltesers (British malt snack) or barley tea!





Breaking open the hops releases a fragrance full of the citrus, pine, and resin notes. Depending on the style of beer, hops can add balance to the finished product through bitterness, flavor, and aroma.


ホップを開けば、柑橘類、松、樹脂の香りがいっぱいに放たれます。 ビールのスタイルに応じて、ホップは苦味、味、香りによって完成品にバランスを取ることができます。



Part #2: Beer Production Process




The second part of the tour is a walkthrough of the entire beer production process from barley-mashing to packaging.





No videos are allowed when viewing the beer production room, but visitors can take as many photos as they like.






Key steps in the brewing process include: Milling, Water Preparation, Mashing, Boiling, Cooling, Fermenting, Maturing, Filtering, Serving.

In basic terms, grains are dampened to make them germinate and release sugars. They are then dried for storage. When it is time to brew, grains are added to water and allowed to ferment. Different yeasts in various quantities create the flavor profiles of different beers. After fermentation, it is filtered before serving and consumption.


Click here to read more about the brewing process.

Learning about the ingredients and how beer is brewed, it is surprising how much of the production process is hands-on. No machine alone can be better than a human’s five senses to determine the best ingredients or when the beer is ready!




There are about 30 tanks in the Fukushima brewery. Each tank is about 20m tall and 7m wide, filled with 500 kiloliters of beer! If a person drank 1 can of beer a day, it would take him/her 4000 years to finish drinking all the beer in just one tank!


アサヒ福島工場には約30のタンクがあります。 各タンクは高さ約20メートル、幅7メートル、ビール500キロリットルまで入っています! もし1人が1日に1本のビールを飲んだら、1つのタンクですべてのビールを飲むことに4000年がかかりそうです!


Ultimately, the location of the brewery is very important to make quality beer. Although hops and malt are primary ingredients to develop the rich and aromatic taste of beer, at the end of the day the key to good beer is in the water used. This helps bring out the beer’s umami, or savory taste. Given that Fukushima has an abundance of pure, natural water, it is an ideal location for both Japanese sake and beer breweries.





Part #3: Beer Tasting Time




The final – and most awaited – part of the tour is the beer tasting! Once you are ready to appreciate the results after the informative tour, you can enjoy a satisfyingly extensive tasting of up to 3 glasses of freshly brewed beer in an open-area tasting room. A tasty snack is also provided free of charge to go with your beer!






The first drink, of course, has to be the signature Asahi Super Dry on draft.





For the next two drinks, I decided to try the other Asahi beer options. Here is the Asahi Dry Black – the only difference from the Asahi Super Dry is that the hops are roasted before the beer is brewed, giving a somewhat richer and creamier mouthfeel!

※There are soft drink options for those who can’t or don’t drink, making it a great option for kids to join the tour as well.




Beer is the freshest right after it is brewed – all beer at Asahi Brewery Fukushima is shipped out within 3 days of bottling or canning. Of course, you get only the freshest right at the brewery’s very own tasting room! Delicious and incredibly refreshing!



There is also a souvenir shop to browse after your tasting! How about buying some fresh canned beer home as a gift or for yourself to drink later on? ;)









Final Thoughts


Detailed explanations from the staff and informative exhibits ensures that you will come away as something of an expert on beer-making—at the very least, you will be very familiar with what makes Asahi’s famous Super Dry beer so distinctive!




Definitely make sure to visit Asahi Brewery Factory if you like beer, eating at beer halls, and actually understanding what’s going on when you go to museums in Japan.




There are many brewery tours around Japan, but the Asahi Brewery’s free tour and tasting session was a great experience and very good value. Next, perhaps I should try and visit the Suntory and Kirin Beer Brewery Tours to get a good understanding of how famed Japanese beer companies make their beer!


日本には数多くの醸造所ツアーがありますが、アサヒビールの無料ツアーや試食会はすばらしい経験でした。 次に、サントリーやらキリンビール醸造所のツアーを訪れてみて、有名な日本のビール会社がどのようにビールを作るかをよく理解しておくべきです!


Meanwhile, do read about my visit to the Yebisu Beer Museum if you are curious for a comparison!