Sam Howzit
"Kirin Ichiban"

U.S. Production of Kirin Beers Will Shift to New Belgium Facilities

July 3, 2024
As contract-brewing agreement with Anheuser-Busch expires, Kirin will take advantage of its U.S. subsidiary’s capabilities starting in the new year.

According to a release from New Belgium Brewing Co., all U.S. production of Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light beers will be moved to its production facilities in the new year. The Japanese beer brands have been contract-brewed in the U.S. by Anheuser-Busch, but that agreement is expiring at the end of 2024, and Kirin has decided to bring production “in house” to its subsidiary New Belgium facilities in Fort Collins, Colo., and Asheville, N.C.

New Belgium will handle production, marketing and sales for the Kirin brands in the U.S. after the transition. Australia-based beverage group Lion — which is a subsidiary of Kirin Holdings — acquired New Belgium Brewing in 2019.

Masakazu Ashida, general manager of Overseas Business Dept. for Kirin Brewery Co., expressed the company’s appreciation for the strong partnership it had with Anheuser-Busch in producing the beers in the U.S., and he called the move to New Belgium “a logical decision.”

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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