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Suntory Brewery Tour

June 19th, 2003

Last Saturday, Hiromi and I spent the early afternoon at the Suntory Brewery in Fuchu, Tokyo. Hiromi called ahead of time and got us reservations for the 10:30 tour; apparently, you might be able to get in without an appointment, but since many of the tours fill up, you might have to wait a while if you don’t get one in advance. The number to call for tours is 042-360-9591.

You go to Bubaigawara Station, a station which has two train lines crossing (the Keio main line and the Nambu line, running between Tachikawa and Kawasaki). Right outside the exit (I was told there was only one exit), to the right, there is a pedestrian overpass taking you to the bus terminal on the South side of the station. If you walk around the depot, you’ll see a yellow sign at one end which shows where the Suntory bus will stop and pick you up.

The free shuttle bus (beer yellow in color, of course) will take you to the nearby brewery, dropping you off at the registration center. You have to fill out a form with your info before taking the tour.

Once the tour starts, you’re taken upstairs to a movie room, where, frankly, I expected an informative little film showing the brewing process. Nope. It was a 5-minute long beer ad, mostly showing fields of malt dancing in the wind, along with beer being poured to the sound of a thirsty person chugging a cold one down. “Ahhh!”

Then you get the tour, where they show you, one by one, their main ingredients: malt, hops, and water. Yes, water. Mesmerizing. But then you get taken through various parts of the brewery, showing the vats where fermentation takes place, the tanks where the beer is stored (you walk through one of them), and the filtration area. That part is actually quite interesting; they hand out the filtration paper, and I swear it looks just like regular paper, albeit a bit smoother, and the beer passes through a multitude of the things. Hard to believe they can actually filter any liquid through it, but they say they do. In fact, they claimed that if milk is put through the system, it comes out clear.

Then you get taken to their recycling display. They claimed that all aluminum and glass they use is recycled, and the PET bottles that they use to produce their other products (like CC Lemon, for instance) are shredded, treated, and turned into clothing. All the jackets worn by the brewery workers are made out of the stuff. They pass around one of the jackets, and it is impossible to tell that the thing ever existed in the form of plastic. After that, you are taken through the canning area, and get another video, but soon after, the real reward comes in: the bar.

Yes, as a reward for coming in and suffering through the 40-minute beer commercial, you are treated to free samples of their products, including their Diet and Premium beers, if you want them. You only get 15 minutes or so before you are ushered out for the next group to come in, so some guzzling may be required to get full value. Hiromi and I were able to put down three glasses each before the rest period ended, and we didn’t really drink incredibly fast. I could have eked in a fourth one…

And what would beer be without some snacks to wash it down with? They give you some nice munchies, including senbei, peanuts, a bit of cheese, and some snacks I couldn’t identify–but they were all very good.


The tour’s web site with time information and the telephone information is located here. If you live in another part of Japan and want to see if there’s a place to tour there, try this page.


Note: 100th Entry…

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  1. November 25th, 2003 at 19:17 | #1

    I just returned from Japan. While there I had a Suntory C.C. Lemon drink which was fabulous. Do you know if this drink can be purchased in the U.S. or where I can go online to find more info? Their website is Japanese only and a google search got me to you. Thanks.

  2. Luis
    November 26th, 2003 at 10:10 | #2

    I just called their customer service; they told me that they only sell CC Lemon in Japan. It seems unlikely that anyone would independently export such a drink to the U.S., considering the costs involved and the range of drinks already available. Sorry.

  3. nick
    March 7th, 2005 at 23:46 | #3

    hey there.. I too am a big CC Lemon fan :) – I just spent the day yesterday at the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, NJ.

    I tell ya, it was as if we were back in Japan minus the temples and the schoolchildren lol


    They have locations all over the U.S. and they carry CC Lemon, but only in a little mini can size – hey… little fix is better than no fix right?

    you can get nikuman, yuki ichigo, a pretty good bento lunch at the food court, omiyage… ummm.. mochi ice cream, – i daresay anything you can think of.


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