The Yomiuri Shimbun KAKOGAWA, Hyogo — Pubs that brew their own beer on-site have emerged one after another in Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture, and are popular among beer lovers. These craft beers have unique tastes that are different from those of major breweries.
Popularity of beer has declined as the options for wine, cocktails and other alcoholic drinks have expanded. Craft beers with a fruity fragrance, which are made with methods unique to small-scale production, are expected to serve as a catalyst for vitalizing the local community.
Katsufumi Onozawa, 52, opened the first pub of this kind in the city: Brew Pub Blanca at Kakogawa Brewing. He is the representative of the brewery.
Onozawa was involved in creating a craft beer brewery in Kobe in 2013, learning the system and how to build the facility and prepare the necessary equipment. He later ran a pub in Kakogawa that dealt with foreign brands. But with a mounting desire to make and sell his own beer rather than selling foreign beer, he designed a plan to open a pub with a beer brewery.
Using his experience as an engineer who designed a control device for pumps with jet engine functions, he designed brewing equipment on his own to meet the size of the new store and ordered parts for that purpose. He assembled equipment such as water heaters and tanks for saccharification and fermentation. He also made by hand mills for grinding malt and beer servers for cooling.
He obtained a liquor manufacturing license in April 2017. Over the course of about a year, through trial and error, he worked on the ratio of barley and hops and how to deal with yeast and temperature control in order to adjust the taste. The brewery can produce about 170 liters per batch.
“It was difficult to adjust the balance of taste and color, such as changing the yeast activity when the size of the tank was different,” he said.
When entering the pub, visitors can see into the brewing room because its entrance is made of glass.
Patrons can enjoy beer with a faint orange scent, beer blended with four kinds of malts, and black beer. Onozawa is currently brewing a beer using pineapple from Ishigakijima island in Okinawa Prefecture. He sells his products to Italian restaurant Bistpia in the city.
He is also producing barley and hops in local fields. “I want to make organic beer from ingredients produced in Kakogawa and make it one of Kakogawa’s specialties,” he said.
In July last year, a pub called Milestone Brewing of Higashikakogawa Brewery also opened in the city.
Makoto Onishi, 61, a representative of the brewery, built it while selling craft beers of various origins. He obtained a liquor manufacturing license in March this year and started making his own beer in a full-fledged manner.