2020 has been a crazy year to say the least. The Covid-19 pandemic changed the daily life of everyone around the globe and brought with it huge challenges for small businesses. Kyoto Brewing Co. is no different and adjusting to the new normal has been one of the greatest trials our young business has faced. Trying to look on the bright side, the crisis required us to step back, reassess our company, and determine once again what is important to us and our customers not only to survive this year, but also thrive in 2021.

One outcome of this self-reflection has been the desire to prioritize a renewed focus on the city of Kyoto and its people. One way in which this will be achieved is through a series of collaborative beers with local people, organizations, or businesses we feel value being a resident of this great city as much as we do. By doing so, we hope to use the platform of our beer to not only show our appreciation for the city, but also support and enable the efforts of other individuals and organizations who reside here.

The first of these collaborative beers has recently been brewed with THE KYOTO, a unique organization that was started with the lofty goal of disseminating the ancient culture of Kyoto to a more modern audience of both Kyoto-and-non-Kyoto-ites alike to discuss and create the “Kyoto Culture” of the future. Their website continually posts intriguing and high-quality content about the city, its culture, and people, and they also create unique online and in person events to share insights regarding related developments. Another unique endeavor they have started is crowdfunding for a wide variety of local causes, ranging from the cultural survival of Kyoto’s five hanamachi (geisha districts), which the pandemic nearly shut down, to saving the The Kwasan Observatory at Kyoto University.

The pandemic has made their efforts both more critical as well as more difficult because visitors to the city nearly disappeared overnight. The Kyoto responded by launching a new project called Otoriyose, working with local businesses to create unique collaborative products that could be delivered throughout the country to ensure a part of the city’s culture could be enjoyed from the comfort of home. A portion of the proceeds are donated to support local causes, and we are proud to be the fifth organization to partner with The Kyoto on the Otoriyose project.

More details fill follow shortly, but the concept behind the collaboration is portraying everyday local character in a beer suited for daily enjoyment. To do so we took inspiration from the easy drinking beers of Germany and paired it with one of Kyoto’s most distinct yet divisive products: Kyo-bancha. While the smoky nuances of this tea now have a “love it or hate it” nature associated with it, for generations it was the daily drink of the common Kyoto-ite. We think you will certainly agree that this beer embodies a modern application of traditional Kyoto!