Kirin Drinks


Kirin´s rich history spans over 100 years and is steeped in tradition and culture. From in origins in Japan 1888, through to its arrival in the UK in 1993, the legendary brew has consistently won the favour of those seeking something different and who value quality. Not only does it have the most expensive brewing process in the World but a truly unique approach to creating beer, "First Press".

Quality comes first at Kirin and always has. By satisfying beer drinkers with a varied range of high quality products, the company has fostered and maintained the loyalty of a growing customer base around the World. We use the world´s finest ingredients, applying the most advanced technology and quality control systems to produce superlative beers.


In 1870, William Copeland, a Norwegian-born American, opened the Spring Valley Brewery in Yokohama, Japan. He sold ingredients and brewing equipment to Japanese wishing to start up their own businesses and also passed on knowledge of brewing by taking on apprentices. Then in 1875 it is said that he opened the first "beer garden" in Japan at his own home. As such, Copeland is known as "the father of Japan´s beer industry".

By ensuring the introduction of the latest brewing machinery and steam system as well as the appointment of a skilled Master Brewer, the Japan Brewery Company (now the Kirin Brewery Company) was established on the original site of Copeland´s Spring Valley Brewery and strove to adhere to his unique brewing methods. The company began brewing its first batch of beer in 1888. Later that year, Kirin Beer was launched, featuring a mythical animal of the orient, the Kirin, on its label.

In 1990 Kirin launched a very special beer in Japan, called "Ichiban Shibori", which literally translates as "first press". This distinctive beer is fermented using only the very first wort, which contains less bitter-tasting tannins. It´s very mild, pure and smooth taste caused a sensational boom when launched in Japan.

In 1993 responding to requests from enthusiastic customers, Well´s & Young´s Brewing Company (formerly Charles Wells) started to produce Kirin Ichiban in the U.K. Since then, like Kirin beer, Kirin Ichiban has attracted customers in Europe with its unique taste. Expertly trained in the art of Ichiban Shibori (First Press), Well´s & Young´s Brewing Company´s Master Brewer is one of only five in the World. Take the Ichiban Shibori Process tour here.

There is no doubt that Kirin Ichiban, with its well balanced taste, will always go down well with Japanese food like Sushi, Sashimi and Tempura. Kirin Ichiban is also the perfect combination with all kinds of Oriental and European food - truly a cosmopolitan taste.


The Kirin Symbol

The Kirin is a creature from Chinese mythology. It is described in books on folklore as having the body of a Deer, the tail of an Ox, and the hooves of a Horse, with a single horn on its head and a pelt of five colours.

According to legend, this amazing animal refuses to step on living plants and will not eat living things. Considered a harbinger of auspicious events, a Kirin is said to have appeared at the bedside of the mother of Confucius as she was about to give birth to her son.

As a symbol of well-being and good fortune, the Kirin was an ideal choice for the label of Kirin beer.