*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Japan, craft beer in cans is a damn shame

and you can charge import prices for a Japanese whisky, but you won't get me to buy it.

First, the whisky.  This is probably very good, but it's 9000y.
If I want a 'heavily peated' malt, and I often do, I can go to the source.  Not to mention I wouldn't pour it, or any whisky near the price, into a highball, unlike the locals.  I don't mind that most good Japanese whiskies are a lighter style, and there are some good ones, but unless you are making a unique or superior product to Scotland... try going for value.

This is under 6000y in Japan.
This is under 4000.  Am currently working on a bottle of Caol Isla for some price between the two.  I'd really love to support local distillers, but when I can get great Scotch scotch for less (and half the cost of in Canada!) I am going to support the Scottish ones.

Craft beer in cans... for fucks sakes.  You can get 'premium' beers from the main breweries in standard sized cans for less than 250y, and 'craft beer' in cans for maybe 30y more.  That's no contest: the latter is beer.  Still, it's a damned shame it's in cans.  I've had Yona Yona Ale in can, bottle and on tap.  The bottle was damned close to the tap.  The canned tasted like a can.  Likewise Koedo, Hitachino Nest and a few others I've been able to get in something other than a can to compare to canned.  I can get local 'craft beer' in bottles, but not at most supermarkets, and it will cost me 175% the cost of the same, canned.  It's a canned beer country.  I get why the majors do this, as it's easier to ship and to manage the empties, and their product tastes like shit no matter the container, but for 'craft beer' it is a crime.

You have to understand.  Where I come from, Ontario, all but the poorest beer, and even much of that, comes in bottles.  There is good facilitation of recycling.  I don't think that explains the price difference in Japan: I have seen Qingdao and Lowenbrau in bottles here for the price of canned local beer, though I'd not drink either free.  Is the problem the cost of glass bottles produced in Japan?

At least I have something to look forward to in Toronto, cheaper good beer in a potable medium.


  1. Love craft brews, but not the prices here in Japan. If I do go out for them, I usually end up at the Baird's Taproom in Harajuku or the one in Nakameguro. Also, the large glasses of Hoegaarden are 980 yen at Village Vanguard, but Hoegaarden is technically happoshu in Japan...

    1. Is it? Interesting. Been meaning to get to those brew pubs? I hope you've been to Popeye's.

    2. No, but will check out Popeye's very soon.

  2. I cringe when I see can and beer in the same sentence. :(

    How do you take your whisky? I prefer mine neat. A friend of mine likes it halved with room temp water, it does afford you detecting other flavors. But I still enjoy mine neat, room temp of course.

    1. Both yours and your friend's styles are legitimate. I split the difference between the two, in fact: a bit of water to 'open up the flavours', but less than half the volume of the whisky. On hot days I will occasionally make a 'high ball' with little ice, but only with mediocre whisky; bad whisky is never worth drinking. Even more occasionally, something of my own devising: a whisky and mugi-cha 'high ball'. Hey, it's all barley.

    2. Oh I am going to have to give that a try sometime. I enjoy barley tea, I just discovered it last year. There is a Chinese restaurant in town that serves it and I LOVE the flavor.