On Thursday November 29th I joined my better (worse?) half on a day-trip to Shuzenji, the home of Bandai Brewery. In 2003 the latter acquired the defunct Toyoo Brewery made famous by its brand name, Kikugenji.
But apparently, this particular brand name ownership was not part of the deal.
As we walked around the small scenic tourist resort under the colour-changing maple trees I noticed the name Kikugenji on the overheard board of a liquor shop called Amanoya.
Funny, I thought. I decided to investigate. The owner appeared soon enough and confirmed the demise of the brewery (I mentioned the name of Kikugenji, not that of the brewery, playing the foolish foreigner…sorry!). But when I asked whether he still sold the brand since it was written on his board and galss door, he gave me an affirmative response and started getting a bottle out of his refrigerator.
I stopped him short, explaining I did not nderstand why he was still selling the brand though the Brewery had disappeared.
“But this sake is made in Nada area. Before being absorbed, Toyoo Brewery had opened a branch in Nada and sold its name to a Nada brewer.”
Ah, ah… I apologized, saying I was only interested in buying real local sake. I cannot say the man looked happy sas I left the liquor shop.
On my way down to the bus station I noticed a big sign outside a local izakaya advertizing Kikugenji.
The vey next day, I was able to confirm my suspicions when I met Denbei Kawamura on the trainon my to university. The gentleman happens to work in the same city as I.
The end result ia that a Nada Brewer is still able to sell its wares through an acquired brand in a faraway city taking advantage of the original defunct Brewery’s good name (with the apparent agreement of the said Brewery).
I was in for another disappointing revelation when I discovered that Hiraki Co. was distributing Bandai Brewery’s sake in Izu Peninsula…