Beer 101

Cultivating Coedo’s Signature Beer – Beniaka’s Agricultural Roots

Create. Purify. Ferment. Evaluate. Deliver.

These are the terms that Coedo Brewery has chosen to capture the careful craftmanship applied to the sustainable farming, sourcing, and distribution of their products. Originally founded as an organic vegetable distributor in the 1970s, Coedo has developed into a dynamic and successful brewery, exporting 30% of its beer to over a dozen countries. At its heart is the strong philosophy to produce delicately balanced beer using the finest ingredients in an eco-friendly manner.

While licensed production of foreign brand beers began in Japan in 1983, the local beer movement did not develop until 1994 when the minimum quantity of beer required for a manufacturing license was decreased from 2,000Kl to 60Kl. This led to the establishment of smaller, independent breweries and an industry boom, fuelled mostly by curiosity. However, small batch brewing required the expertise of brewmasters with confidence in their craft and there were simply not enough of these specialists to satisfy demand.

In 1996, scientist and craftsman Shigeharu “Haru” Asagiri redeveloped Coedo Brewery after many years of travel, research, and training. He moved the previous brewery to a new location in Kawagoe, a city known for its agricultural roots and a leader in fashion and the arts. The new site is elevated above a forest where brew masters can draw natural mineral water and return waste further down the river, minimising their environmental footprint. 100% of brewers spent grains are distributed to local farms as cattle feed. With his keen precision and creativity, Haru has transformed the craft beer industry in Japan and is now CEO of Coedo.

It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention and the lack of an independent malting industry in Japan gave Haru the opportunity to develop an ingenious alternative: sweet potato. Japan is famed for incredibly high standards and the uniform appearance of its agricultural products. The cost of this precision is that up to 40% of fruit and vegetables is often discarded due to its inferior appearance. To minimise this kind of waste, the company began to repurpose ingredients rejected by retailers in line with their eco-friendly philosophy. Sweet potato beer was successfully produced for the first time in 1996 and was an archetype of their current product, Beniaka.

Inspired by the incredible range of colours he saw studying beer overseas, Haru became determined to showcase the diverse beauty of Japan through the beers of Coedo. Each of his products is named after a colour – from the light, golden hues of Marihani to the enchanting onyx of Shikkoku and the deep crimson of Beniaka.

Beniaka is an unfiltered, smooth sweet potato amber ale with 7% ABV. Its fragrant caramel tones develop through an extended brewing process and are well balanced by a stark, earthy bitterness underneath. Known as a specialty product in Kawagoe, Kintoki sweet potatoes are a strong tie to Coedo’s agricultural roots and allow the company to maintain its traditional Japanese values. Beniaka has won multiple European Beer Star awards, the bronze medal at the Australian International Beer Awards and a silver World Beer Cup award in 2010.

Beniaka is the perfect complement to your dining experience and beer enthusiasts can experiment with their own pairings now that social distancing laws have forced most restaurants to close their doors. The full-bodied, caramel hints of the amber ale will pair nicely with a sweet sauce like teriyaki, but the sweetness can also enhance the flavour of salty dishes such as yakitori or wagyu beef.

Coedo’s founders pioneered farm to table product distribution; Haru and his staff continue to deliver award-winning premium craft beers in an authentically eco-friendly, sustainable manner.

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