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Ishikawa Brewery Co., Ltd.,A

Century-Old Beer Caldron

Successive heads of the Ishikawa family have kept diaries of their activities. According to the diary of the 14th head, Chiyozo, they needed 5,050 yen (about 100 million yen in today's money) before starting to make beer.
The beer caldron in the photo at right is the one Ishikawa Brewery actually used in those days. However, after Ishikawa Brewery withdrew from the beer business, the caldron was brought to the home of relatives of the Ishikawa family, where it was treated carelessly and left buried up to its neck. After a long time, it looked like a mere pool in the yard. This benefited the caldron, because it was not confiscated during wartime, when all types of metal including even temple bells were collected to supply the war effort. Thus, the caldron survived the war. Now, it remains as a valuable historical article of Japan's beer brewing history.
Beer caldron used in 1887
Despite its great investment in the beer business, Ishikawa Brewery withdrew from the business after only about one year, and the brewing equipment was sold. This was partly because bottle crown caps had not yet been invented, and the bottles were easily broken and because of other negative factors. In those days, without good refrigeration methods, beer was only made during the winter season. Thus, the production of this German-style
lager beer ended very soon, leaving only the results of production amounting to a total of 54,000 liters during this one year.
In that period, it is said there were 100 to 150 beer breweries in Japan. Later, in the wake of the Boxer Rebellion (1900) in China, Japan began leaning towards militarism. In 1901, during the country's policy of increasing wealth and military power, a liquor tax was applied to beer. Small-scale breweries in the Meiji Period were forced to discontinue business one after another. Three years later, Japan entered into a war with Russia.

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