The foot of Mount Kojin in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, is an area called Ishidera, and there are vast fields surrounded by mountains and Lake Biwa. In the middle of this beautiful scenery, a brand new environmentally-friendly building with a modern design has been built. A craft beer factory with a store named Hikone Brewing.
We visited this new brewery in order to interview Hashimoto Kenichi, the president of the brewery, and Kojima Nagisa who is in charge of the production. Both of them welcomed us warmly and happily. We were impressed by their open-mindedness and friendliness, we chatted for a while and became more knowledgeable about this place.
On this land, a local community, university and companies have worked together towards the realization of a sustainable business project in harmony with the natural environment. “We chose to challenge brewing our own craft beer here. The craft beer market is growing all around the world and for tourists, visitors and locals, we want to offer our one and only beer which represents Ishidera, Hikone.” In 2019, “Hikone Brewing Co., Ltd.” was established and a portion of the land has been used to build an environmentally-friendly craft brewery. And finally, in May 2021, the new brewery opened.
This brewery offers so far 4 types of beer:
All beers contain 5.5% of alcohol and cost 660 yen each.
Those beers match well with any kinds of dishes but with nuts it seems to be a good combination.
The brewery was built by a design team led by Professor Shirai Hiromasa of the University of Shiga Prefecture. The building is a single-story wooden structure that blends in with the surrounding landscape, and was designed with environmental considerations in mind, including a ventilation system that uses natural wind which blows between mountains and Lake Biwa. Students from the University helped to design and create the floor and walls, furniture, and signage for the approach by using reed (a tall, slender-leaved plant of the grass family growing in and around Lake Biwa).
“Our goal is to brew “ALL HIKONE BEER” made from 100% Hikone ingredients, so that we can help the local society of agriculture and tourism, and let the local people and visitors getting close. We will continue to challenge ourselves towards this goal. We hope that this brewery will be a long-lasting business to hand it down from generation to generation among the local community of Ishidera town.”
“Come to visit us and taste our beers in a very unique environment. Listening to nature sounds and observing the green spaces will bring you a peace of mind. It will be such a refreshing and relaxing experience”. Mr. Hashimoto mentioned: “I have some unforgettable memories interacting with diverse kinds of people during my travel experiences. I would like Hikone to become a more dynamic and popular city where people from different countries can have a great time and connect with local people.”