I want to start out by saying this blog has had a consistent Japanese readership, and my thoughts are with all those currently in Japan. You can make a donation here via the American Red Cross to be specifically placed in the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund

The earthquake and tsunami had considerable impact and slowly the country and the world is taking stock of just what the total damage will be.  Japan will soon begin to transition from emergency response to long term recovery, and my guess is in some areas this process has already begun.  The most difficult phase of any disaster is recovery.  Several Japanese brewers were damaged in the disaster.  Not only were the facilities at Kirin, Sapporo, Asahi, Kiuchi (Hitachio Nest) damaged, but countless staff were impacted.  Kirin seems to be the most severely impacted.

These companies have a number of issues to handle.  First, staff and and facilities need to be cared for.  While this is occurring we will see shortages in Japanese produced beer.  Even those breweries such as Kiuchi which seem to have faired well have ceased production and shifted to potable water production for humanitarian relief. Even once they return to brewery production shipping methods will be impacted for the foreseeable future.  The longterm health of the Japanese brewing industry really needs your help in order to make the smoothest transition.

What can stores do?
When a store has trouble keeping a certain product in stock for long periods of time that beer often looses its allocated shelf space.  I understand why stores do this, and I ask them to please realize for the next several months it is not the breweries fault, and I understand you have a bottom line.  Please when the situation changes  make sure you have these beers back on your shelves and do not banish them.

What can a consumer do?
Continue to purchase Japanese made beer.  A consistent influx of cash will provide jobs and the necessary capital to allow rebuilding.  Secondly, when you notice your favorite Japanese import no longer having a space on your local shelves ask the manager about it.

I do not think any of these brewers will be forced to close, but I would think that some are going to be damaged for the foreseeable future, and some distribution channels will dry up.  I wish everyone the best.




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