Craft Beer Harvests Rice Waste from Zojirushi Cooker R&D

Courtesy of Zojirushi Corp.
Hare to Ho rice beer, made from upcycled rice waste

OSAKA — In an effort to reduce food waste, Zojirushi Corp. has turned rice cooked during development of its staple rice cookers into an ingredient for craft beer.

The Osaka-based company jointly developed the Hare to Ho rice beer with Nikenjaya Mochi Kadoya Honten, a long-established mochi shop in Ise, Mie Prefecture, also known as a producer of Ise Kadoya Beer.

According to Zojirushi, it uses about 30 tons of white rice annually in the process of developing its rice cookers. Engineers repeatedly cook and taste rice to examine how well the cookers perform. The company recycles most of such test rice as compost, but some was discarded, so it sought another way to make use of the foodstuff.

The beer was created by mixing white rice in during the mashing process, which converts grain starches into sugars, and white grape juice was added to achieve a refreshing taste.

A 330-milliliter bottle of the beer goes for ¥660 including tax. A total of 5,000 bottles are available at Zojirushi “Gohan” Restaurant in Osaka and Isekado Brewery’s online store.