Howdy, Chris here.
This week we said goodbye . . . to 189 cases (that’s almost 4500 bottles!) and eighteen 30-liter kegs of Baird Beer. It was a very large order for us, especially when you compare to our usual shipments inside Japan. More on that in a second.
The bottled beer, seen here being wrapped up by our shipping dude Kojima-san, is destined for Singapore. A mixture of small 360-ml regular beers and 630-ml seasonal beers, this is by far our largest order to Singapore, and it shows a growing demand for flavorful beer in that country.
The kegged beer is heading down to New Zealand, imported by Hashigo Zake. The interesting thing about this order was that they went out in special plastic one-way kegs (with the somewhat inaccurate name “Eco Keg” — being one-way, my first thought is “throw away”, not eco-friendly). These kegs are also a combination of Baird Beer regulars and some seasonals, including a couple of small-batch seasonals that normally only are served at our own Taproom pubs.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a big order for us. Within Japan, we generally ship directly to pubs, restaurants and retail bottle shops, so the orders tend to be small — a case or two of bottles or a few kegs at a time. Our biggest shipments (kegs only for the time being) go to our two Tokyo Taprooms, Beer no Yokota in Shizuoka, and Beer House Tir nan-Og in Hamamatsu (the last two being Baird Beer-themed pub/restaurants — see past blogs for details). But right now we don’t deal with any distributors in Japan mainly because (a) the distributors don’t know how to deal with craft beer, (b) they aren’t interested since they make easy money just selling the big four’s industrial beers, and (c) instead of worrying about educating the distributors, we think it’s more effective — much more effective — to educate the beer-drinking public.
Someday shipments like this will be commonplace and it won’t be such a big deal that we feel compelled to blog about them. That won’t mean that we’re not as excited about seeing lots of beer go out the door, but we’ll just be too busy making more.