15 September 2021

All about Kirin Ichiban: the famous Japanese beer

The history of Kirin Japanese beer

A beer born from the association of cultures and know-how

Closed to foreign countries for a long time, Japan opened up to the world in the 19th century. Ports such as Yokohama became real platforms for exchanges with the world. In 1869, William Copeland, an American brewer of Norwegian origin decided to set up his brewery, the Spring Valley Brewery, in Yokohama.

In 1885, this brewery was bought by Japanese and became the Japan Brewery Company. In order to perfect their technique and to produce the most authentic beer, they call upon German brewing engineers and have German equipment and raw materials delivered.

In 1888, the Kirin brand was born with the launch of Kirin Lager. Even today, this beer is one of the most sold of the brand.

In 1907, the Japan Brewery Company took the name of Kirin Brewery Company in reference to their best-selling beer of the time: Kirin Lager.

In 1990, Kirin launched its flagship beer: Kirin Ichiban, made from a unique and innovative brewing process, the result of several years of research and development.

Today, Kirin is one of the biggest players in the Japanese beer market. Its know-how, its quest for excellence and its ability to innovate are at the origin of its international reputation.

kirin old brewery and commercial

Pictures : Old advertising poster for Kirin beers and photograph of the first brewery.

Kirin: a logo with mythical origins

The qilin is a mythical creature of Chinese origin with a dragon head and a deer body. Called kirin in Japanese, this animal is a very popular symbol of good fortune throughout Asia.
First used on Kirin Lager beers, it is a logo with over 130 years of history.kirin old and new logoPictures: The first Kirin Lager logo and the current Kirin Ichiban logo

The secret of Kirin Ichiban beers making

Keep only the best of the first filtration

Kirin Ichiban is the flagship beer of the Kirin group. It is distinguished by a unique manufacturing process whose goal is to bring out the best of each ingredient.

While most brewers use wort from the first and second filtrations, Kirin Ichiban is the only mass-market beer brewed only from the wort from the first filtration.
Ichiban means “first” in Japanese, referring to the first filtration process.

kirin ichiban beer first press process

Picture : First press brewing process explanation

The feat of a delicate and fragrant 100% malt

Kirin Ichiban is a 100% malt beer, made from ingredients selected for their high quality.

While the majority of 100% malt beers have a very strong and marked taste, the first filtration process of Kirin allows to obtain a delicate beer to appreciate the taste of the malt with finesse and voluptuousness.

The manufacturing process in video

Kirin Beer brewing philosophy in video

How to serve the Japanese beer Kirin Ichiban?

What to serve Kirin Ichiban Japanese beer with?

Kirin Ichiban Japanese beer is a light and very aromatic beer, designed to match the delicacy of Japanese cuisine.

It goes perfectly with all the classics of Japanese cuisine: sushi, ramen, tempura, gyoza, yakitori, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, yakisoba…

As well as all the western dishes that we would like to accompany with freshness and lightness.

Also ideal as an aperitif, Kirin Ichiban beer is delicious served chilled in izakaya (Japanese tapas bar) with some edamame, karaage or Japanese crackers.

kirin beer service japon japonais bière

Pictures: Pairing suggestions with the Japanese beer Kirin Ichiban

How to serve the Japanese beer Kirin Ichiban?

Kirin Ichiban Japanese beer is best served chilled, by the bottle, in cans or on draught.

At Foodex, you can find these three formats, with 33 cL and 50 cL bottles, 33 cL and 50 cL cans and 30 L kegs.

gamme bière kirin

Picture: The different formats available for Kirin Ichiban beer at Foodex

To help the restaurant owners in the service, POS material (glasses, table sets, clothes, posters…) are available according to the countries and the stocks. (For more information, contact your usual sales representative).

The Kirin brand regularly offers limited edition designs that highlight the beauty of the Japanese seasons (sakura cherry blossom in Spring, momiji Japanese maple leaves in Autumn…)

kirin beer sakura

Picture: The Kirin Ichiban with Japanese cherry blossoms

Find more information about the brand and Kirin Ichiban beers on their website.

Check out the Kirin products in our Foodex catalog.