Introduction

Hokkaido’s Alcoholic Drinks | Drinking Like a Local

From Sapporo Classic to the Nikka, Savoring Hokkaido’s local beer, sake, wine or molt whisky is an exquisite experience.


Beer & Low-molt Beer

Sapporo Beer (サッポロビール) is king in Hokkaido and the local market leader. People love the Sapporo Classic, officially sold and served only in Hokkaido. At the supermarkets and convenience stores, beer is commonly sold in 350ml or 500ml can, or 633ml bottle.
Happo-shu (発泡酒: low-molt beer) and beer-like liqueur are cheaper than draft beer.


Sake

The world-famous sake (酒: also called o-sake or nihon-shu) is made from rice, koji (malted rice) and clear water. The alcoholic content is around 15% and a measure of sake is start from ichi-go (一合: 180ml). Traditional accommodation and izakaya serves ichi-go by tokkuri (徳利: ceramic sake bottle). Around 60% of sake brands are using local rice.
There are 12 sake breweries in Hokkaido and some places have souvenir shops, museums or tasting rooms. For local sake breweries, see Hokkaido Brewery Association website www.hokkaido-sake.or.jp.


Hokkaido’s Sake Brands & Locations

Chitosetsuru千歳鶴Sapporo
Fukutsukasa福司Kushiro
Kamikawa-Taisetsu上川大雪Kamikawa
Kinteki金滴Shintotsukawa
Kita-no-katsu北の勝Nemuro
Kita-no-nishiki北の錦Kuriyama
Kokushi Muso國士無双Asahikawa
Kunimare國希Mashike
Michizakura三千櫻Higashikawa
Niseko二世古Kutchan
Otokoyama男山Asahikawa
Taisetsu-no-kura大雪乃蔵Asahikawa
Takaragawa寶川Otaru

Wine & Umeshu

Hokkaido is a new wine-growing region, first brewed in 1960 from Ikeda. The bulk of wine production takes places in Tokachi, Furano, Sorachi and Hakodate. Umeshu (梅酒: plum wine), brewed at some wineries and sake breweries, is nonetheless worth tasting.


Whisky

The Scottish-style Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery in Yoichi, founded in 1934, is home to Japanese malt whisky (モルトウイスキー). Highball (ハイボール: whisky and soda) is growing in popularity.


Shochu

Hokkaido’s shochu (焼酎) is distilled spirit made from potato, beans, rice, sake-kasu (less from sake), wheat or corn. Several sake breweries making unique shochu. Kiyosato has a town-managed shochu distillery.



HomeIntroduction › Hokkaido’s Alcoholic Drinks