Japanese Beer Makers Tap Interactive Experiences to Pique Interest of Young Generation

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The “Super Dry Go Ride” attraction in which visitors experience the beer-making process through images projected on a huge screen at Asahi Breweries, Ltd.’s concept store in Ginza, Tokyo.

Japan’s major beer brewers are opening facilities featuring eye-catching interactive experiences in a bid to crack open the interest of young people who have been shying away from the beverage.

Among the brewers aiming to attract new customers through this approach is Asahi Breweries Ltd., which opened a concept store showcasing its mainstay Super Dry beer in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district on Thursday. The store features the “Super Dry Go Ride,” in which images are projected on a huge 4K screen along with sounds, shaking and wind, making visitors feel as though they are riding on a beer can going through the production process.

Visitors also can use a machine to draw characters and pictures in beer foam and even pour their own draft beer at the store, which will be open until the end of September.

“The rebound back toward beer has picked up pace since liquor taxes were revised [last year],” an Asahi Breweries official said at a preview tour of the store on Wednesday. “We hope all kinds of people, not just beer fans, will enjoy visiting this store.”

As for other beer makers, Kirin Brewery Co. will open its renovated Spring Valley Brewery Tokyo, a craft beer facility in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on May 30. The facility has an onsite brewery, and Kirin plans to hold events featuring music and art to create a space where visitors can comfortably enjoy drinking beer.

On April 3, Sapporo Breweries Ltd. opened a facility at the Yebisu Garden Place commercial complex in Shibuya Ward. More than 35,000 people have already visited the facility, which features displays of vintage Sapporo posters and bottles, and an exhibition that looks back on the brand’s history.

Suntory Holdings Ltd. has since April let visitors pour their own freshly brewed Premium Malts beer at its brewery in Fuchu, Tokyo.

“Alcohol is gradually becoming a thing that young people don’t feel a close affinity for,” said Naoko Kuga, a senior researcher at NLI Research Institute. “It’s vital that beer manufacturers make people interested in their products through social media and experiences such as test tastings and hands-on attractions.”