Every day seems to bring new information, insights and acts of kindness on this quest to turn a hobby into something more. As you will know, I am fervently researching the business of brewing beer in my adopted homeland, Japan.
I have been getting quotes for brewing equipment from a number of Chinese companies and they have all been very friendly and free with their advice and expertise. Of course, they know I am a potential customer, but I am only ‘potentially’ a customer and they know that. The chances of me buying equipment from them in the foreseeable future is low, yet they have been very generous with information. Their quotes are very reasonable too. The figures mentioned are still out of my reach at the moment and though it is hard to see at present how I will raise the funds, I am not about to throw in the towel.
However friendly the Chinese companies are they lack the detailed local knowledge of the Japanese market and regulations. Plus, they are located in another country, so shipping costs etc…must be factored in. What about Japanese companies? Surely they offer something similar, albeit more expensively, no doubt.
With this in mind I contacted the two companies that I could find that supply brewery equipment in Japan. One replied with a rough quote 10x that of the Chinese companies, which is pretty impressive when you think of it and some information about contacting someone who offers advice to people like me. While the quote might have been a bit ridiculous, the offer of information for advice was something that they didn’t have to do. I duly contacted the man and he called me back and discussed all the pitfalls and short comings of my initial plan. Amazing! This man has nothing to gain from me (as far as I know) and was giving me fantastic advice. I am now planning in a much more concrete way and it appears that a Brew-Pub, rather than just a Brewery, is the way to go. Yet more expense, great. Again, the towel is firmly in my grasp and I’m not about to throw it anywhere.
Despite my determination and spirit to succeed, even I have to admit that there is a chance that this project will never reach realisation. Of course, that is not my ‘modus operandi’ and I am still going to give this a mighty good go. However, the journey keeps confirming how generous people can be when you put yourself out there and strive for something.
On a slightly different note, I am going to have my second brew day tomorrow. I will tinker with the method and ingredients a little by using local spring water, a mix of malts, throwing in an ‘adjunct’ (mysterious local ingredient) and will ‘liquor back’ my wort to make 10 litres this time. As they say, ‘Time (and looming, nightmarishly hot weather) wait for no Green Man’.
In case you are interested, the picture today is of an old road near my work that was once used by Saigo Takamori (the man ‘The Last Samurai’ film was based on). Beautiful, but a bit slippery under-foot!