Kirin Ichiban Is Getting a New Brewing Partner in the US

New Belgium will produce Kirin Ichiban in the United States beginning in 2025

Kirin building
Kirin Ichiban is changing its U.S. brewing partners.
Kirin Holdings

Change is afoot for Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light — the latter of which got high marks in InsideHook’s rankings of light beer — at least for fans of both beers in the United States. And yet this change is also the kind that, if all goes well, will go largely unnoticed by drinkers used to the taste of either or both. New Belgium Brewing recently announced it will take over the production of both beers in the United States from Kirin’s current brewing partner, Anheuser-Busch.

The changeover is set to take place by the end of 2024, with New Belgium handling production and sales beginning next year. New Belgium’s brewing facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina will be used for the production of Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light.

That news isn’t all that shocking considering that Kirin Holdings bought New Belgium back in 2019. “We appreciate Anheuser-Busch’s many years of strong business partnership supporting Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light in the U.S.,” said Kirin’s General Manager of Overseas Business Department, Masakazu Ashida, in a statement. “Moving these brands to New Belgium is a logical decision as we consider the strategic direction of our business in the U.S. for years to come.”

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As Pete O’Connell reported at VinePair, this move ends a long-running partnership between Kirin and Anheuser-Busch, which saw the latter producing the former’s beer beginning in 1996. The New Belgium deal is far from Kirin’s only booze-related deal in the U.S.; New Belgium bought Bell’s in 2021 and Kirin has owned Four Roses since 2002. As for this latest announcement, we’ll know in a few months what it means for the experience of actually drinking Kirin Ichiban in 2025 and beyond. Hopefully, the changeover will be seamless.


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