Fukuoka town produces craft beer made from local produce

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tachiarai Ale, made with strawberries, left, and corn, are seen. The craft beers use locally grown produce from Tachiarai, Fukuoka Prefecture.

FUKUOKA — Residents and businesses in Tachiarai, Fukuoka Prefecture, have launched a project to produce craft beer made with locally harvested strawberries and corn to support farmers struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The two craft beers, named Tachiarai Ale, were unveiled at a restaurant adjacent to the Kirin Brewery Fukuoka factory in Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture, on June 11. The ale was produced in partnership with the brewing company.

Last summer, Ayumi Kato, a 32-year-old member of the town’s community revitalization team, planned the project to support farmers and others amid the pandemic by utilizing nonstandard agricultural produce that would have been discarded. After discussions with other women who are local farmers, Kato decided to create two types of beer: one using Amao strawberries and one using local corn.

About ¥850,000 was raised for the project from all over Japan through a crowdfunding campaign. After being offered from the Kirin factory the malt produced in the town, the project members asked a craft beer brewery in Anan, Tokushima Prefecture, to produce the beers for Tachiarai.

The Amao beer has the color and aroma of strawberries with a slight bitter taste, while the beer made with corn is characterized by its deep richness and sharp flavor. The products are priced at ¥700 for a 330-milliliter bottle. About 500 bottles of each beer were scheduled to be produced and sold at Miyazaki Saketen, a local liquor shop, and event venues.

Tachiarai Mayor Tetsushi Nakayama and Nobuo Takahashi, head of Kirin’s Fukuoka factory, attended the unveiling event and celebrated the launch of Tachirai Ale with a toast.

Nakayama expressed his hopes of the craft beer, saying, “Many people will become aware of the town’s quality agricultural products, and this will also convey the pride we have of our region.”

“I want to let everyone know about the charm of our town through these beers brimming with the hearts of so many people,” Kato said.