JAPANS LEGENDARY BEER, ORIGINALLY BREWED IN 1877
SAPPORO IS THE BEER REFINED BY REBELLION
AN ACT OF REBELLION
Seibei devised a plan to stowaway aboard a merchant ship, bound for England. Under the cover of darkness, spurred on by his desire for something more, Seibei violated state embargoes and made his escape.
The journey was perilous and unforgiving, but Seibei was unwavering in the pursuit of his dream. After a long period at sea, Seibei finally arrived on English shores.
SEIBEI NAKAGAWA WAS A YOUNG MAN WHO DREAMT OF LEAVING HIS HOMELAND IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE.
At the time, citizens of Japan were strictly forbidden from leaving their country. Travelling overseas was an act punishable by death. So it had been for more than 200 years.
But Seibei longed for more. He needed to know what lay beyond the borders of his homeland. He was willing to risk everything to find out.
THE BERLIN BEER COMPANY
After bonding over their shared love of beer, Aoki Shuzo recommended Seibei for a job at the Berlin Beer Brewing Company and in March 1873, with no previous brewing experience, Seibei secured an apprenticeship.
A CHANCE ENCOUNTER
Seibei travelled Europe for seven years before he made his way to Germany.
It was in a local German bar where a chance encounter with a Japanese student; Aoki Shuzo, set Seibei on a course that would change his life forever.
A PASSION REFINED
The apprenticeship was physically demanding, the work involving carrying heavy bags of barley and fetching water for the brew. There was also a language barrier to overcome and technical terms to learn.
But Seibei had a true passion for beer and, desperate to learn more about brewing, he asked the head brewmaster to teach him the art of making ‘liquid gold’.
With the same determination and commitment that fuelled his escape from Japan, after two years of intense training, Seibi Nakagawa became a certified Brewmaster.
A PIONEER RETURNS
On learning of Seibei becoming a certified Brewmaster, Aoki Shuzo, who had since been promoted to German minister, wrote a letter of recommendation to the chief Development Commissioner in Hokkaido, Japan, who he knew was considering starting a beer business.
Beer was a symbol of Western civilization. Serving domestic beer at diplomatic meetings would be proof to the rest of the world that Japan was a civilized country.
Aoki’s letter of recommendation came at a perfect time and in the summer of 1875, ten years after his rebellious escape, Seibei Nakagawa once again stepped on the soil of his native Japan.
JAPAN’S FIRST BREWERY
In August 1875, Seibei visited Tokyo for an interview with Hisanari Murahashi, who was in charge of building Japan’s beer business.
The two men had a curious connection to each other. Hisanari had also smuggled himself to England in 1865, the same year as Seibei. As the two men reminisced about their experiences in Europe, they formed a mysterious bond. Hisanari thought so highly of Seibei that he immediately hired him as chief brewer and engineer for the brewery project.
Given his recently acquired expertise and knowing that brewing beer required a great deal of ice, Seibei successfully convinced Hisanari to relocate construction of the Brewery from Tokyo to the far northern city of Sapporo.
JAPAN’S LEGENDARY BEER
Hisanari entrusted Seibei with all the technical work, from plant construction to brewing, while Hisanari himself took charge of the administrative work.
The partnership of Hisanari and Seibei was born. Thus began the project to build the first Japanese brewery.
By 1876 the Sapporo brewery was complete. Japan’s first brewery had been built in less than two years.
Not long after, in 1877, the beer bearing its city’s namesake was born.
Unbeknown to him at the time, Seibei Nakagawa; Sapporo’s first Master Brewer, had changed the history of Japanese beer forever. His pioneer brew; Sapporo, became known as Japan’s Legendary Beer – the beer Refined by Rebellion