In 1994, a new law allowed breweries to produce a minimum of 600 hectoliters per year. Microbrewing in Japan was born. Over 200 microbreweries sprang up in a few years. Today that number is half of what it was. Yet the beer culture in urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka is twice as strong.
How can craft brewers survive the global recession? Ask the Japanese. During its economic boom in the 1980s, the Japanese were huge consumers of single-malt whiskies and fine wines. Hand-made beers are starting to enjoy a similar cache, but without the exorbitant price tag.