"The Journal of Commcrre of Victoria is responsible for some information anent the brewing industry in “Jolly Japan" that will be read with pleasure by all who rejoice to see the extension of the realms over which John Barleycorn holds sway. It appears that the director and manager of the Osaka Beer Brewery Company, Osaka, has recently been on a protracted visit to the United States of America, and whilst there he confided to the ears of some American journalists a few details concerning the extent of the beer trade in the go-ahead empire of Japan. We learn that the annual output of beer amounts to 100,000 barrels, but that the demand is increasing so rapidly that in time beer will seriously rival “saka” in the afiections of the Japanese native. The sooner the better, all of us will say, but that a stern battle will have to be fought, a mere mention of the fact that there are about five millions of barrels of “saka ” annually consumed, amply testifies. This native beverage, being made from the abundant cereal rice, naturally has a firm footing in a land where rice is as much an article of daily food as is Wheaten bread in our own country, but considering that Japan was hardly heard of from a European point of view of civilisation before 1870, it must be conceded that the drinks of the Goths and Vandals of Northern Europe are steadily gaining in popular favour. The system of brewing hitherto pursued at Osaka is that in force in Bavarian breweries, where, indeed, the manager of the Osaka establishment learnt his profession, but his mission to the States was undertaken solely with the object of supervising the manufacture of new plant for the production of lager beer in Japan on American principles. The raw materials for manufacturing this beer will include, besides, we assume, maize and rice, barleys hailing from America and Japan, and hops grown under the scorching skies of California. The Journal of Commerce of Victoria says, somewhat despondently, that Australasian hops do not apper to have received the attention of the manager of the Osaka Beer Brewery Company, but doubtless if the Journal should meet his eye, he will be able to remedy this little oversight. Transport freights should not be very high from Australian ports to Osaka, as inhabitants of these bright countries are in the habit of exchanging holiday visits to one another's hospitahle shores. Whilst commenting on the beneficial spread of beer-drinking habits as opposed to a proneness to imbibe ardent spirits, we might point out the neat increase in the ranks of beer drinkers in Paris an France generally. Every humanitarian will view with pleasure the abolition of those innumerable “petits verres," and the adoption instead thereof of a sound, healthy beverage such as the juice of honest Barleycorn. We believe the same tendencies are at work in Russia, and doubtless as civilisation marches along, we shall witness a gradual lessening in the consumption of absinthe, inferior brandy, and vile vodka."
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 66.
Interesting that the Osaka Brewery had started with German technology but was moving over to UA kit. To me, that says brewing with corn grits and fermenting in sealed vessels. Obviously, it made far more sense for a Japanese brewery to buy Californian rather than European hops. Though Australian ones would indeed have meade even more.
During WW I, the Japanese moved into the Far Eastern market., especially the Dutch East Indies. With brewing in trouble in Holland and international trade disrupted by German submarine warfare, Japanese brewers faced little competition. Especially when the export of beer from Holland was forbidden:
"Beer Export ForbiddenIn other parts of Asia, Japanese Lager replaced the products of the Central Powers.
The export of beer is forbidden."
De Tijd, 29-05-1916, page 2. (My translation.)
"The Germans have many smart well as shameful things to their credit. In the former is the success with which have been able to capture a considerable portion of the Indian market with their beer. The most famous of all English beers — pale ale — which is known and appreciated all over the world, originated with the demand by Anglo-Indians, and, according to tradition, the reputation and fortune of one of our greatest brewing firms owes its origin to the wreckage of a cargo off the British Isles, when the virtues "East India Pale Ale" first became known to stay-at-homes. The explanation of the present esteem of the German article lies in a preference for a lighter drink. At the moment Japanese brews are replacing those of Munich and Pilsen. But surely England will come into its own again."The last senetnce proved to be overly optimistic.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Monday 25 January 1915, page 3.