Hoppy, Japanese Bubbly Beer

I was reading over at Jean Snow and come across this delicious looking beer, so I thought I’d do a little investigating of my own, and see what I could find out.

Hoppy was first introduced in 1948 as an alternative to beer, which at the time was too expensive for most people to drink. People would take ShōchÅ«, an alcoholic beverage, and mix it with the Hoppy, 5 parts Hoppy, 1 part ShōchÅ«. Unfortunately, during Japan’s economic boom in the 60’s and 70’s, Hoppy had gained a rather tacky image, drank mostly by working-class men, causing many bars to pull it from their menus. The beer slowly disappeared because of this swing in attitude in the country.
But in a pleasant upturn, Mina Ishiawatari, the granddaughter of the company’s founder, joined Hoppy Beverage in 1997, managing to rebrand the beer as a nostalgic type of drink, making people think of times long past and turn it into an extremely successful business again.
I personally think the bottles look really fun, and the ad above is way too cute to not want to drink some. Unfortunately, Ishiawatari has made it clear that the only market Hoppy Beverage cares about is the Japanese one, stating:

“Hoppy’s main market is Tokyo and Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures. We do not intend to expand it throughout the country nor do we plan to expand into the global market.”

To read more about Hoppy’s financial turn around from The Japan Times, click here.
To read about Japan’s interest in nostalgia relating to Hoppy, click here.

Bobby

August 19, 2007