Interview: Koudai, the Black Belt Brewer of Bear Meets Beer

Chichibu Beer LogoFar from the glittering lights of Tokyo is Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture.  This area has a rich history of brewing sake and wine, but now it has its first craft beer brewery for those mountaineers who want a refreshing beer.  The name of the brewery is Bear Meets Beer.  The bear of a man in this brewery is Koudai and he has sunk his teeth or bear claws into this area quickly.  He has already expanded Bear Meets Beer out of Chichibu to other areas across Japan.  He even showed his newest hidden secret but Taihai can’t spill the bear beans, because once again, he is a black belt in karate and will put the Taihai guys in a bear hug.

“For the people who are not familiar with beer, we will pursue a taste you want to drink.  It is lovely and easy to drink, so I invite the world to beer bear.  LOVE BEER!!  LOVE BEAR!!”

-Koudai Tan

Chichibu Beer

Company Name LLC. Bear Meet Beer
Location Chichibu, Saitama
Established 2016
System Size 6 BBL
Fermenters 7 x 1,200 L

This brewery was founded by Yuka and Koudai Tan, a husband and wife duo from Hokkaido.  After enjoying their drinking experience throughout Germany on their honeymoon, they were inspired to start Beer Meet Bear.  Yuka Tan is representing the company as President and CEO during her off times and is a full time doctor a town away.  Her better half, Koudai, handles all brewing operations and is the face of the company.

The brewing system has a long history to it. This system was built in Germany and used by a German brewery before being purchased and used by a local resort to make ji-biru.  Once the resort decided to stop brewing beer themselves, the system collected dust for 10 years in some warehouse until Koudai rescued it for his operations in 2015.

Getting his brewery off the ground was a strenuous endeavor but he was able to use a warehouse on the grounds of the Chichibu Kikusui Brewery for his operations and was able to get his brewing licence in the middle of autumn, 2017.  Since he started production, he continues to ramp up to expand his operations with something new Taihei can’t disclose.

Interview DayKoudai Tan - Bear Meet Beer

On the day of the interview, the Taihei guys made their way from tall skyscrapers to the peaceful green foliage of Chichibu.  Koudai is such a friendly fellow and offered to pick up the Taihei guys at Mahollo Bar.  While Koudai was driving to his brewery, he was explaining the key points of what the draw of moving to Chichibu was and explaining the local industry.  Chichibu is surely known for its berry farms in the area and Koudai was pointing out each farm’s crop while explaining which farm he uses for his beers.  He also explained why he wanted to start a brewery; his life’s history; and about his wife.  He was very open about himself and proud of his brewery but still humble from the start to the end of the interview.

Once the Taihai guys entered into his brewery, he treated them as if it was his home by offering shoes and chairs to sit in while saying his brewery wasn’t “tidy”.  He walked the Taihei guys through his brewery while explaining the difficulties of opening it, the reception of the residences and the new projects he is working on.  So without further ado, enjoy the interview below.

Where to Buy Chichibu Beer

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