"Considering the significant position beer assumes nowadays in Japanese consumption practices, a thorough historical treatment is long overdue. We urgently need this book."

-- K.J. Cwiertka, Leiden University, author of Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity

"The story Alexander tells is a fresh one, intersecting with important themes in Japan's modern history (from the process of "borrowing" from the West to the growth of the consumer economy) but novel and revealing at every turn. Brewed in Japan is a striking new addition to the field and engages with many of the most widely debated issues in Japanese economic and social history."

-- William Tsutsui, Southern Methodist University, author of ​Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization

"While many studies look at a snapshot in time, or a particular period in Japanese history, Alexander takes us through a century of change and development of the beer industry. Making excellent use of the company records, Brewed in Japan provides us a portal into the changes to the business environment that have driven and sometimes buffeted Japan."

-- Thomas W. Roehl, Western Washington University, author of Mobilizing Invisible Assets

​"Alexander uses the development of Japan's beer industry to explore issues of Japanese national identity, including ambivalence toward European influence, wartime nationalism, and regional identities within Japan. The book is written in an engaging, straightforward style and includes photos and samples of historical ads. Scholars will be pleased with the glossary and extensive notes, heavy on Japanese-language news, government data, and company histories. This work is the only treatment of Japanese brewing of its kind and a good complement to other histories of food and drink in Japan.."

​-- J.M. Deutsch, Drexel University  

Brewed in Japan:


Jeffrey W. Alexander is Dean of Arts and Sciences at Pueblo Community College, and until 2015 he was Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside.
He has given invited presentations about his research throughout North America, as well as in Japan and the United Kingdom. He is available to consult with your group or agency about Japan's brewing industry, or about related markets such as whisky distilling and the postwar meth trade, on which he has also conducted original research. More info & Contact

Jeffreyis also the author of Japan’s Motorcycle Wars: An Industry History (UBC Press and University of Hawai'i Press, 2008). More info

Follow Jeffrey on Twitter: @jeffalexander99


Brewed in Japan, by Jeffrey W. Alexander, is available in paperback in the US from the University of Hawai'i Press
​and worldwide in both hardcover and paper from UBC Press.
Order info.

The Evolution of the

Japanese Beer Industry

By Jeffrey W. Alexander

Brewed in Japan explores the start of beer brewing in Japan, the many challenges facing major brewers during the Second World War, and the postwar industry's continuing evolution through craft beer and innovative beer-like products.
Written not simply for Japan specialists, this book will appeal to beer industry professionals, craft beer enthusiasts, and anyone with an interest in Japanese history and culture. Featuring over 300 pages of text, dozens of photographs and period advertisements, and a vast bibliography, Brewed in Japan ​is both a close analysis of Japan's leading brewing firms and a revealing look at the fascinating country in which they do business.

This book is the first in English to explore beer's steady rise to become Japan's "beverage of the masses." Based on his extensive translations of Japanese-language source material, author Jeffrey W. Alexander reveals how Japanese brewers adopted and domesticated beer in just a few generations, despite its entirely foreign origins.

Introduction: Beer’s Evolution into a Japanese Commodity
Chapter 1. Foreign Influences: The Origins of Japan’s Beer Brewing Industry,1868-1906
Chapter 2. Keeping Up Appearances: Maintaining Beer’s German Authenticity,1906-36
Chapter 3. Brewing Self-Sufficiency: Beer, Empire, and the Wartime Command Economy, 1937-45
Chapter 4. “The Taste of Home”: Beer as Postwar Japanese Commodity, 1945-72
Chapter 5. Learning from Japan: “Orion Beer” and Okinawan Consumer Identity,1945-72
Chapter 6. Indigenous Brews: Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Beer’s Continuing Evolution since the 1970s
Conclusion: Biiru no Nihonka – The “Japanization” of Beer

​     Appendix, Glossary, Notes, Bibliography, Index