A Farewell Message from Chris

As we posted back in May, I have decided to leave Kyoto Brewing Co. this year. While it is hard to believe, it was my final day at the company this last Friday, December 15, 2023.There is a lot to be proud of in the last 8+ years and I don’t regret any of the hard work and dedication I poured into the company. The desire to make positive change in the industry and become one of its leading members was one of our goals when we started the brewery, and I can say with confidence that we are well on the way to accomplishing this. In an ideal world, the three friends who started this business would be together to see it to its end. While it is unfortunate that this won’t happen, I leave the company with supreme confidence that Ben and Paul will guide it to bigger and better things than could have been accomplished had I remained.As I depart, I want to express a deep thanks to everyone who has been involved with and supported KBC thus far. Nothing could have been accomplished without our hard working and supportive staff who showed great dedication to us even amidst great uncertainty. Additionally, I am incredibly thankful for the support from compatriots within the industry, whether beer bars, restaurants, or fellow breweries, without whom we could not have grown to the point we are today, either as a business or as individuals. Finally, to our customers, thank you for always enjoying our beers and making Kyoto Brewing Co. part of your daily life. One of my most rewarding memories is meeting customers and hearing from them that drinking a KBC beer is what got them interested in craft beer—it is an honor to know that our creations changed the way people think about an entire industry.So where do I go from here? One thing that has never wavered throughout all of this is my love for brewing. I will definitely remain in the industry in Japan, although when that will happen, where that will be, or if it will be for myself or someone else is still to be decided. For now, the only thing that is certain is taking a well deserved break, during which time I intend to think through the next steps in my brewing career. Until the next step is decided, please feel free to raise a glass to kanpai should you bump into me at a beer bar or bottle shop somewhere in the country!-Chris---------------------------------------------------While we have known of Chris’ leaving for a long time, that doesn’t make us feel prepared for it.
Since we made it public in May, we have been asked, “how do you find another head brewer like Chris?”
The truth is that we can’t.As a founder and company executive, he has represented the company impeccably. As the head of the brew team, no one has a stronger sense of responsibility than he does. As a brewer, he is amongst the very best in the country. More than any of that for us, he is a long-time friend of almost two decades, with whom we embarked upon this adventure together.As a result, when Chris told us he had made his decision to move on, it didn’t take long for us to decide that we needed to go in a new direction. We couldn’t simply replace him.When we started KBC, we didn’t imagine that this day would come. Even though most companies that start up follow such a pattern, we went out on the journey together as three, not really thinking about the possibility that one would go their own separate way. At the same time, there was one part of me that was happy when Chris told me that he wanted to leave. Chris always puts others first, and this was just about the first time we had ever seen Chris make a decision for himself. Doing what you love, and enjoying what you do, is more than important; it is essential.While it feels like a sad day, it is also in many ways a step that means new challenges. Big new challenges for KBC, and big new challenges for Chris. It has taken some time to get used to, but we are now excited about our next steps, which we look forward to sharing about over coming months. We can now also look towards whatever Chris decides to do after leaving KBC with excitement as well. While he has not decided, we personally hope he one day starts his own brewery. One that is the size he wants it to be, and making just the beers that he wants to make. Regardless, on the next day that beers made by Chris Hainge are to be sold in Japan, we hope to be amongst the first customers through the door, and we are sure that the line will be scattered with KBC members.Thank you Chris, and good luck!-Paul, Ben, and the KBC team