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Buying beer from Japan online? 2021/9/20 16:17
Not sure if this question is appropriate, but did not know where to put this.

I have tried to aquire some bottles / cans of japanese beer since visiting Japan now is impossible. A brand of Sapporo beer could be bought in Europe but it was not even brewed in Japan, apparently what they call "licenced brewing".

Are there any options on buying beer online from Japan or shops that distribute these to overseas customers? Other alcohol drinks like sake are way easier to aquire. Not sure if it has something to do with the content going bad or so.
by Moire (guest)  

Re: Buying beer from Japan online? 2021/9/21 23:27
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Buying beer from Japan online? 2021/9/22 00:49
The main reason that sake is more readily available for import is that people buying sake are already spending more than people buying beer so shipping, potential customs charges, etc. are not as much of a big deal.

When it comes to beer, think about the container, now think of the price. It is relatively large, very heavy, and can definitely be considered cheap. For something like beer, almost nobody wants to pay the kind of money it would take to transport it to the other side of the world. Especially when such a large proportion of potential customers for Japanese beers are in Europe where beer of equal or often better quality is readily available within 10 minutes walking distance of basically anywhere.

Simply put, there just isn't much of a market for Japanese beer exports. Licensing the brand name is just a much simpler and more profitable solution.

That said, many personal shoppers will deal in pretty much anything as long as it is legal and not too much trouble. You could easily find someone to buy beer and send it to you.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buying beer from Japan online? 2021/9/22 07:34
@Moire - the "licensed" brewing is an international feature of many of the large brands and mostly (in my experience) it works pretty well. The companies employ people to taste-test for quality and consistency. However, that does not always work. On one trip back to my home country the Asahi I purchased was almost undrinkable - no idea what they did to it.
As others have mentioned, the cost of sending a heavy item overseas makes a 292 yen can of beer pretty expensive. Say you buy a case of 24 (a pretty standard measure), that is going to be over 8kg. Posting that internationally, using some information from packages I sent earlier this year would be 15,000 yen (a bit less if you could get economy air, but that wasn't an option for me back in April). Note, sending a dozen and 4kg is more expensive per can. Other annoying point, liquids fall into a prohibited category.
Add in the handling cost, and it rapidly becomes really not worth it.
You might find someone prepared to send surface, but again, there are hurdles/headaches there too, and that is also not cheap and takes a few months.
Don't forget, many countries have laws around selling alcohol (you do not say where you are based), requiring sellers to be licensed, and of course there are excise taxes to be added/collected.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Buying beer from Japan online? 2021/11/2 05:51
I would not risk it. Import lager is always better at the store. However if you do go this route please note that there is certain to be an import tax on the alcohol content of the beer.
by thefinalpokedude rate this post as useful

Re: Buying beer from Japan online? 2022/3/14 08:25
I know this is a late reply, but I' ll give some info that will maybe be seen by the original poster.

@ Moire: As you mention Europe and your English seems to be your native language, this relates to the UK, particularly London. There are Japanese Food stores in London that sell Japanese canned and bottled beers.

Japan Centre has a store in central London:


and also has an online store:


Be aware that some of these beers are brewed under licence, but it does seem to state which ones. The craft beers will be from Japan.

There is also The Rice Wine Shop, 82 Brewer Street, W1F 9UA. They had a small canned beer selection before Covid, but Ive not been in since before lockdown. They have an online store, but it is in Japanese and doesn't offer beer.

Hitachino Nest's (a Japanese craft brewery}, beers can be found in many British craft beer stores. As an example their White Ale can be bought from WaterintoBeer in London:


Also purchase in-store at their shop/bar, Unit 2 Mantle Court, 209-211 Mantle Road, Brockley, SE4 2EW.

Regarding beers brewed under licence, Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo have all been brewed in Europe and it is usually only one or two brands each. Sapporo is the weirdest; the 500ml can is brewed by Guinness in Ireland, the 650ml can is brewed in Canada (it owns Sleeman brewery in Canada) and a few months back I found on sale in London 650ml cans of Premium and Black that came from Vietnam!
by RobBeer rate this post as useful

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