HK Magazine - - NIGHTLIFE -

With a his­tory dat­ing back to

1823 and its be­gin­nings as a sake brew­ery, the fam­ily-owned Ki­uchi Brew­ery be­gan mak­ing beer in 1996 un­der its owl-lo­goed brand, Hitachino Nest. Just opened is its first ever in­ter­na­tional out­post: a 7,500 sq. ft. site in Fo Tan, which Hitachino claims is Hong Kong’s most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced brew­ery. At the grand open­ing in early Au­gust, we spoke to eighth gen­er­a­tion owner Toshiyuki Ki­uchi about bring­ing the brand to Hong Kong. HK Mag­a­zine: Why si­t­u­ate a Hitachino Nest brew­ery in Hong Kong? Toshiyuki Ki­uchi: The first rea­son is sim­ple: Hong Kong is the cen­ter of Asia, so food cul­ture and craft beer cul­ture is ex­pand­ing from Hong Kong to all of Asia. The other rea­son is that we, as a Ja­panese brew­ery, can­not ex­port beer to the main­land [os­ten­si­bly be­cause of health con­cerns raised af­ter the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nu­clear dis­as­ter]. With a brew­ery in Hong Kong, we can ex­port to main­land China.

HK: Will the Hong Kong brew­ery have any unique brews?

TK: Right now we are brew­ing the same beers as Ja­pan, but in our next step we will brew spe­cial beers for the Hong Kong mar­ket, such as sour ales. It’s per­fect for Hongkongers eat­ing Chi­nese food, which can be oily and a lit­tle bit spicy.

HK: What’s dif­fer­ent be­tween the

Hong Kong brew­ery and the one in Ja­pan?

TK: The size of the brew­ery is the main dif­fer­ence—the Ja­pan brew­ery is 10 times big­ger. All the equip­ment is the same as in the Ja­panese brew­ery, it’s just the size that is dif­fer­ent. All the in­gre­di­ents we will bring in from Ja­pan, some­times from Ger­many [such as the malt].

The wa­ter here is dif­fer­ent [Hong Kong wa­ter is con­sid­ered al­most a blank slate with barely any min­er­als, ideal for brew­ing beer], so we are ad­just­ing the wa­ter treat­ment.

HK: What’s the sig­na­ture style at Hitachino Nest?

TK: White ale. It uses wheat malt, co­rian­der and or­ange peel. It’s a cloudy beer; the sig­na­ture at Hitachino.

HK: What’s your fa­vorite?

TK: Good ques­tion. Ev­ery day I have tast­ings, tast­ings, tast­ings of beer! But I like lager-style beers. The Hitachino Lager is fruity, with a lot more hops; it’s also quite a smooth beer.

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