Against the Grain opens brewpub in Japan
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local brewery is going against the grain by going somewhere no Louisville brewery has gone before.
Against the Grain Brewery is living up to its name by opening a brewpub in Japan.
“I don't think anyone is doing anything quite like this,” said Adam Watson, part-owner of Against the Grain. “We sort of founded our whole existence on doing things a little bit differently than most people do."
It started with a thirst to share Kentucky beer with the rest of the world. Against the Grain is sold in places like Copenhagen and Hong Kong.
The owners of Against the Grain went to Tokyo last year on a trade mission with the World Trade Center Kentucky, an organization dedicated to helping Kentucky businesses enter the international market. They met their current partner, who they say bought the land and built the brewpub. Against the Grain is contributing its brand and its beer expertise.
“We decided early on that we wanted to be in the very best places all around the world instead of just the nearest places,” Watson said. “We started building a brewpub in southern Okinawa, almost down in Taiwan, one of the farthest south islands of Japan.”
Ed Webb, president of World Trade Center Kentucky, said Against the Grain is a model example for other Kentucky companies to grow international trade.
“People look at us and say we're just bourbon, and we're just automotive, and we're just thoroughbred horses," Webb said. “All are very important to the state, but we're not the same state we were 10 or 20 years ago.
“Other smaller or midsize companies say, 'I can do this. Why not us?' Japan is Kentucky's No. 1 foreign investment partner, meaning they have more investment in Kentucky facilities than any other county.”
The pub in Japan is already pouring beer, but it won’t start making beer until October.
“Right now, the pub only has retail open,” Watson said. “It's not producing. All of the retail are beers that are brewed and packaged here in Louisville.”
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