Museum of Yebisu Beer

ByMichael Stigall
Jul 25, 2022

Museum of Yebisu Beer

Yebisu Beer has a long and storied history beginning in 1887 when the Japan Beer Brewery Company cleared an area of farmland to build a brewery. At this new modern brewery, they would use German methods to create their new premium beer, Yebisu. In time the area came to be named after the beer (rather than the commonly held belief that it was the other way around). Eventually, Yebisu rose to prominence in Tokyo, and the brewery moved. You can still experience the old brewery, though, since Yebisu Garden Palace is on the grounds of the first brewery. Yebisu Garden Palace city is a city within a city boasting a 3 Michelin star restaurant, residential spaces, and a Mitsukoshi department store.

Though we are talking about beer, so perhaps the most interesting draw to the area is the Museum of Yebisu Beer. Guided tours are currently on hold, but you can still visit the museum free of charge and visit the tasting room at the end, where you can try five different Yebisu beers for JPY 400 a glass. The guided tour is also worth a look once it starts up again. On the guided tour for JPY 1,000, you can take a tour of the brewing history conducted by ‘brand communicators,’ experts in Yebisu. On this forty-minute tour, you will be, with the aid of a 120in (305cm) screen, transported back 120 years to those early days of brewing. Under your guide’s tutelage, you will learn about not only the rise of the Yebisu brand but also follow the history of the nation itself and the way that trends and tragedies of Japan both have shaped the company into what it has become today. 

Again, the tour’s culmination brings, presuming your group is not exclusively under the age of 20, perhaps the most exciting experience: the tasting salon. Here you can select two glasses of Yebisu’s five draft beers*. At 280ml, the glasses are a good size and should be enough to wet the whistles of your average day tripper. But should thirst overcome you, by way of a group janken competition, you can win a third selection and even a Yebisu Premium Beer branded glass to take home with you.

For thirsts five draft beers couldn’t sate, on the tour’s completion, you can retire to the Beer Station, a comfortable lounge area where you can order snack foods and drink draft beer at a cut rate of JPY 400 a glass. That price is an absolute steal when you consider Yebisu Premium, which is not just a clever name, was of such exclusivity that it once cost the same asten0 bowls of soba noodles. That’s a tour tidbit for you fact fans).

The lounge has a relaxed atmosphere with comfortable sofas amidst a stylish décor. It is open to all comers – not only tour participants – with local office workers taking advantage of the low prices after a day at the desk.

The guided tours are available in English and Korean. Also, the exhibits are signed in Japanese and English so that anyone can peruse the museum at their leisure, free of charge, before hunkering down on a sofa to sample the low-priced drinks and wander the interesting, if a little pricey, gift shop.

While it may not have the behind-the-scenes access of a brewery tour, it is a pleasant and diverting way to spend a couple of hours if you happen to be in the area. It is also an interesting insight into how something as humble as a beer brand can grow and help shape a significant portion of one of the most captivating cities in the world.

Museum of Yebisu Beer

Yebisu Garden Place , 4-20-1 Ebisu , Shibuya-ku , Tokyo (map link)

istolethetv, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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