※ Updated on Oct 8th, 2023
Kyoto Brewing Co (herein KBC) is a craft beer brewery, based south-west of Kyoto station, that started making beer in 2015. Most heavily inspired by traditional Belgian styles and the modern American craft beer movement, we have focused on crafting a wide range of styles that we enjoy drinking, whilst looking for ways to positively impact our community, and minimising the negative impact that production typically entails. Keeping quality at the forefront, we also value exploration, and are constantly looking at ways to improve ourselves, as a working environment, contributors to our locality, and of course through the beers that we make.
For our initial 4 years, we were solely focused on keeping up with demand and therefore only packaging beer in kegs.
We eventually started small scale bottling, and put plans in place for selling to retailers and through our online store from early 2020. With the impact of the corona pandemic, these plans became heavily expedited, and by the close of 2020, 80% of sales came from bottles. We shifted to cans from the beginning of 2021, and our retail footprint has further increased significantly.
With a focus on domestic expansion of cans, especially in Kyoto, we have a lot of projects that we’ll be kicking off this year and next. For this reason, we’re looking for a talented head brewer to join our team.
With retailers needing more shelf-stable products, we need to extend our best before dates, as well as make our beer more resilient to temperature swings. At the same time, we want to keep craftsmanship at the centre of what we do, and believe that filtration and pasteurisation compromise too much on the taste of the product. This means we are looking at other ways to achieve our goals, and are looking to implement a centrifuge and de-aerated water system, with both due to arrive in early 2024.
The head brewer will be expected to help ensure that the implementations go smoothly, and create protocols to ensure that they are used effectively, as well as incorporating other methods to help lengthen shelf-life.
We see our backyard, Kyoto, as our most important market, and are passionate about increasing our footprint here, and introducing more people to craft beer. Given that our current products need to be kept cold at all times, and given their relatively short shelf life (avg is 3-6 months), this has proved a huge bottle neck in achieving our goals. As a result, we are looking to create a new product line tailored to our home market – can-conditioned beer. This project is kicking off in earnest in Q2 2023.
The new head brewer will be expected to work with the sales team to design and create new products to help meet the needs of our target audience.
Given our desire to increase product shelf life and our desire to work towards creating a subset of products that don’t need to be cold chained, we are investing in a new on-site QAQC lab to ensure that our products meet the strictest quality standards prior to release. This project is getting off the ground in Q3 2023.
Implementation and effective use of the new equipment will be vital in our ability to improve the quality and stability of our products, and it will be the head brewer’s job to ensure measures are in place, training is carried out effectively, and that improvements in the products are tangible.
When we moved into our current brewery, we thought it would take a long time to fill it out. 8 years in, and here we are installing the last round of tanks that can physically fit inside the building. The goal moving forward will be to create a complex production schedule to meet sales demand all the while looking for areas in which we can improve efficiencies and produce more beer with a fixed amount of tanks.
A key part of this role will be to ensure that we have the resources, both from an infrastructure and manpower perspective, and that they are working effectively to meet demands.
- 5-person team, including a Head (this role) and Lead Brewer
- 15 US barrel/1750L brewhouse; +225,000 liters production (in 2022)
- 7 single batch fermenters, 4 double batch fermenters (+2 doubles to arrive in Q4 2023)
- Semi-automated keg washer/filler; Semi-automated 6 head can filler
① Overseeing Brewery Operations
- Ensuring that operations are proceeding according to high quality standards set by KBC.
- Monitor and continuously improve brewing operations with regards to efficiency, cost reduction and profitability.
- Monitoring equipment status to ensure that maintenance and other equipment needs are addressed in a proactive manner.
② Product Development
- Develop new recipes for annual release planning. Influence and drive the development of the company’s annual beer roadmap.
- Collaborate on all production activities and create schedules to meet sales forecasts and demands.
③ Beer & Process Quality
- Ensure ongoing evaluation and management of the brew-to-package workflow quality on a daily basis.
- Establish targets to measure and improve ongoing analytical and sensory performance to ensure consistency of KBC’s beers.
④ Raw Material and Equipment Procurement
- Develop annual ingredient requirements to ensure best terms with our vendors in order to support production demand.
- Evaluate new ingredients or materials and processes through design of experiments that lead to new innovative brews or enhanced operating performance.
⑤ Team Development and Management
- Develop a fun, safe, accountable environment to ensure ongoing learning and continuous improvement of skillsets for Team KBC.
- Maintain team performance plans to track professional growth.
- Evaluate staffing needs and implement flexible resource model to meet ongoing demand.
⑥ Standard Setting and Compliance
- Standardise procedures and ensure they are adhered to, improved upon where applicable and trained to for new hires/transfers.
- Proactively drive to ensure a safe work environment and safety-first culture that embraces safe habits, understanding of workplace risks and continuous improvement of safety performance.
- Monitoring data tracking related to HACCP, taxation, etc., to ensure it is compiled and submitted in a timely manner.
① Brewing Related
- At least four years of experience working as a brewer in a production brewery (required).
- Knowledge of a wide variety of raw materials and experience in their application in recipe creation (required).
- Experience with equipment selection, operation, and maintenance, including tanks, processing, and packaging equipment (required).
- A strong understanding of critical control points of beer quality throughout the brewing process (required).
- Previous experience with QAQC or related laboratory techniques and HACCP protocols (preferred).
- Ability to safely lift and carry objects of up to 35kg and stand for long periods of time (required).
② Qualifications (General)
- Excellent communication skills, both within a production environment and with other teams (required).
- Ability to maintain a positive mental attitude even in the face of setbacks and schedule changes (required).
- Intermediate ability using Excel, Word, etc. (required).
- University degree (preferred).
- Fluent Japanese language ability (non-native applicants: JLPT N2 level or higher) (preferred).
- English language ability: basic reading and/or speaking (preferred).
- Work Schedule:
- Regular Schedule: 9:00-18:00
- Shift Schedule: 8-hour shift between 6:30-22:00
- Overtime required as needed
- 2 days/week off (normally Saturday/Sunday)
- Other Time Off:
- 18 days of regular leave (annual leave + summer break + year end holiday)
- 15 days off from public holidays
- 5 days of sick leave
- Benefits and Perks:
- Health benefits (medical+dental insurance and company-covered/mandated annual check-up)
- Paid parental leave
- Beer and merch monthly allowance
- Multicultural work environment
Please send a resume, cover letter, and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please clearly state what it is about KBC that makes you want to work here and why you are the best fit for the position.
- Oct to Nov = application period
- Nov 30th = head brewer decision