The spread of COVID-19 has had a variety of effects on consumer attitudes: according to the October 2020 survey, a total of 53.4% of respondents answered “very much” or “somewhat” that they are more concerned about environmental issues and environmentally sustainable living than they were before the outbreak of COVID-19 infection.

This awareness is also reflected in their consumption behavior, with 66.8% of the respondents responding that their awareness and behavior when shopping have “changed a great deal” or “changed to some extent”. Among these, the top responses related to sustainable consumption were “I have started to choose domestic and locally produced goods as much as possible” and “I have started to choose environmentally friendly products and services”.

Restaurants need to be aware of the needs of consumers and prepare sustainable menus. table source’s column on sustainable restaurant menus is one of the most popular and widely read articles on the topic. In this column, we focus on “drinks”, which can be said to be the key to customer value in restaurants, and introduce 10 sustainable drinks. All of these products are available in Japan as of September 2022. This time, we will introduce the alcohol section. (This column is for alcoholic beverages. Click here for the non-alcoholic version.)

Table of Contents


1. “Beer” made from upcycled bread ears that were scheduled to be discarded

“Boulanferme”, a bakery founded in 1923 in Kanagawa Prefecture, has launched “upcycle,” a craft beer brewed with surplus bread ears in cooperation with breweries nationwide. According to the “Survey of Food Losses by Daily Food Manufacturers” conducted by the Institute of Distribution Economics in 2019, the incidence of surplus bread production is higher than other food products such as dairy products, tofu, and natto (fermented soybeans).

Boulanferme has been making effective use of the bread ears that are cut off during the sandwich-making process by offering them free of charge to livestock farmers as feed and fertilizer, and has been taking measures to prevent food loss. The company was wondering if there was anything else they could do, and with the support of craftsmen (brewers), they started a project to make beer from bread crusts.

[Related Article] Upcycled beer and sparkling wine made from discarded bread ears are now on sale


2. Flavorless “beer” made with blemished fruit

“Sankt Gallen Brewery Co., Ltd.”, known as the pioneer of microbrewing in Japan, is focusing on the production of fruit beers that make use of damaged or otherwise “unacceptable” fruits. The company sells seasonal fruit beers made from figs, apples, oranges, peaches, pears, etc. Some of the beers were created at the direct request of growers who were having trouble disposing of damaged fruit. “Winter Fruit Tart Ale,” a dessert beer released on November 25, 2021, utilizes approximately 110 kg of Ashigara figs from the Ashigara district of Kanagawa Prefecture, which were damaged before shipment.

In addition, since fruit with a special reason can be purchased at a lower price than usual, more fruit can be lavishly used in the production process. By doing so, the company has succeeded in bringing out the natural aroma and taste of the fruit without adding flavoring.


3. “Champagne” contributes to the preservation of biodiversity

The 100-year-old Champagne brand “Termont” has not only achieved 100% organic certification for its own vineyards, but also supported its partner growers in obtaining organic certification for their 56.5 hectares of vineyards. The company aims to have all of its and its partners’ vineyards certified 100% organic by 2031.

The company is also committed to preserving biodiversity throughout its property, not only in the vineyards, but also in neighboring natural areas. Over the next three years, 2,500 shrubs will be planted around the vineyard to create an “insect hotel,” thereby protecting the diversity of species and creating a system that will continuously absorb carbon dioxide.

In a first for the Champagne region, the production and use of exterior and gift wrapping materials will also be banned. The bottles will also be switched from the traditional clear ones to 100% recyclable green bottles. In addition, a solar power generation system has been installed on the premises. The company has already switched all vehicles used by the brand to electric vehicles.

In February 2022, Leonardo DiCaprio, a Hollywood actor and well-known environmental activist, made headlines when he announced his investment in the company, sharing Telmon’s sincere commitment to environmental protection.


4. “Sake” made from rice produced by recycling-oriented agriculture, forestry, and horse cultivation

In recent years, sustainable agriculture and forestry, or “recycling-oriented agriculture and forestry,” which does not use chemical fertilizers or fossil fuels, has been attracting attention in the field of agriculture and forestry. One such example is horse-drawn agriculture and forestry. The horse-drawn transportation of timber from mountains with no roads to clear is useful for preserving the natural environment and water resources because it does not require the mountains to be forcibly cut down. Horse manure is also used as an excellent fertilizer in “horse plowing,” in which horses are used to plow the fields.

“Tajinba” is a sake made from “horse-cultivated rice” grown without agricultural chemicals by horse cultivation. The sake is sold by Sanbarikisha Co.,Ltd., a company established by Takashi Iwama, who is also involved in the cultivation of human and horse materials as the representative director of the General Incorporated Association of Horse Cultivation Promotion, and the box is also made from “horse-carried” wood.

[Related Article] Event to promote recycling-oriented agriculture and forestry, “horse-drawn carriage and horse cultivation,” will be held. Sake made from horse-cultivated rice is also served.


5. “Sake” that has achieved carbon neutrality during production

“KOBE SHU-SHIN-KAN BREWERIES, LTD” known for brewing the Japanese sake “Fukuju,” released on October 20, 2022 the sake “Fukuju Junmai-shu Eco Zero,” which achieves virtually zero CO2 emissions in the sake brewing process.

Energy used in production is CO₂-free electricity derived from renewable energy sources with specific power source value from general hydropower owned by “Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.” and city gas utilizing carbon-neutral liquefied natural gas from “Daigas Energy Co., Ltd..”

Other measures to reduce the energy generated in each production process include a rice milling process that reduces the milling ratio from 70% to 80% and shortening the number of brewing days by omitting a process called “sake mother. The company also prints designs directly on the bottle, eliminating the need for labels. The company is gradually moving forward with initiatives that place less burden on the environment, such as switching from leaded to lead-free ink for printing bottles, and printing on transparent bottles that have been electrostatically coated.


6. All proceeds from the sale of “Sake” donated to humanitarian aid in Ukraine

“Sakura Sake Shop”, a sake retailer specializing in Japanese sake, began selling “SAVE UKRAINE,” a charity sake that will lead to humanitarian aid in Ukraine, on March 12, 2022. The selling price is 1,650 yen including tax. All proceeds will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society’s “Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund” to support the response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and relief efforts in neighboring countries and other countries hosting displaced persons from Ukraine.

In order to be able to launch and donate the product as soon as possible, the labels were made by an employee, and the company asked the fastest printing company to create the labels on short notice.

A limited number of 1,000 bottles of “SAVE UKRAINE” were sold, all of which sold out in five days, and a successor product, “For the SAKE of UKRAINE” was released on March 28. The selling price is 1,650 yen including tax, and 200 yen per bottle will be donated to the United Nations Association for UNHCR to be used to set up emergency shelters throughout Ukraine and in neighboring countries that are accepting refugees from Ukraine, repair houses damaged by shelling, provide cash transfer assistance, psychological support and other protection and humanitarian assistance, and winter cold assistance, etc.


7. “Sparkling Wine” of Japanese pear, contributing to environmental restoration in Chiba

“Chiba Prefecture Sake Sales Co.,Ltd.” a general trading company of alcoholic beverages and food products in Chiba Prefecture, sells “Pear Sparkling Wine” made from Japanese pears that cannot be shipped because they are difficult to look at or do not meet size standards. The company says it uses Hosui pears produced in Kamagaya City, Chiba Prefecture, which is known as one of the leading pear production areas in Japan.

The company also aims to contribute to the prosperity of local communities through its efforts to support producers. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the “Chiba no Megumi Series,” which includes Pear Sparkling Wine, is donated to the “Chiba Environmental Restoration Fund”, which was established to help restore nature in Chiba Prefecture. The fund is used to help preserve the local environment.


8. Supporting local development, “wine” aged on the seabed

“SUBRINA” is a red wine aged for about six months at a depth of 15 meters off the coast of Nakaki, Okuishirou, Minami-Izu. The wine is unique in appearance, with barnacles and limestone algae still attached to the bottle as proof that it has been sleeping at the bottom of the sea.

The undersea storage facility is located off the coast of Okuirounakagi, which faces a national park and boasts some of the clearest water in Izu with its pristine natural environment. The storage site was decided upon with the cooperation of the local fishing cooperative, centering on the “Nakagi Marine Center”, a dive store. It is believed that Nakagi, which becomes rough in the winter, causes vibrations in the wine that affect the wine in the bottle. In addition, the cold water pouring in from the Nakaki River keeps the sea water temperature lower than that of the open sea, maintaining the optimal temperature for wine aging. Because water pressure increases with the depth of the ocean, the bottles are repeatedly tested for pressure resistance, and special seals are applied to prevent the corks from flying off.

Commonsense inc., which sells SUBRINA, also focuses on regional development in Minami-Izu. The undersea maturation work with local divers is conducted during the off-season in winter, avoiding the summer season when many diving tourists visit the area. The company aims for sustainable development by creating new local services while protecting nature.


9. “Gin,” a recycled beer that was in danger of being discarded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The “REVIVE” series is a series of beers that were in danger of being scrapped due to a significant drop in sales volume, but have been distilled and recycled as gin. It is marketed by “The Ethical Spirits & Co.”, a distilling venture that operates a regenerative distillery. About 60,000 liters of surplus beer that was in danger of being discarded by the coronavirus pandemic as of the summer of 2021 will be revived as more than 15,000 bottles of craft gin.

REVIVE is produced jointly by “Anheuser-Busch InBev Japan Company”, which operates Budweiser, “Gekkeikan”, a long-established Japanese sake manufacturer, and The Ethical Spirits & Co. Gekkeikan will be provided with Ethical Spirits’ technology for distilling beer and converting it into gin. The company also provided approximately 80,000 Budweiser glasses that were to be discarded, resulting in the creation of REVIVE, a gin made from soaked beer that is unique in the world.

[Related Article] Corona Disaster Beer in Disposal Crisis, Recycled into Craft Gin for About 80,000 Cups. Began selling to the general public.


10. “Jin”, an effective use of unused timber from Japanese forests

“Japanese Botanical Lab”, which seeks to discover the “potential as food ingredients” of vegetation lying in satoyama throughout Japan, has developed and is marketing “Forest Gin”, an aromatic wood liquor that makes effective use of unused wood in Japan. More than 60% of the ingredients are made from thinned cedar, cypress, and oak. This is the first time in Japan that 100% of the botanical ingredients are domestically produced wild aromatic trees.

Japan’s forests cover about 25 million hectares, or two-thirds of the country’s land area, of which about 10 million hectares are planted forests. More than half of the planted forests have reached the point of harvesting, but cutting trees that cannot be used for commercial purposes will only result in a loss. Trees left unattended without being cut down do not have firm roots, increasing the risk of landslides, and blocking sunlight also causes the forest ecosystem to collapse. In addition, the ability of trees to absorb carbon dioxide will be reduced, which will contribute to accelerating the pace of climate change. To solve these problems, Japanese Botanical Lab is working to revitalize Japan’s forestry industry by developing avenues for thinning and fair purchase of timber.

[Related Article] A desire for Satoyama has given rise to the idea of “eating trees. The Relationship between Trees and People as Considered by “Tree (Food) People”


Editor’s Note

In this column, we introduced 10 alcoholic drinks that can be purchased in Japan as of September 2022.

Amid concerns about the prolonged effects of COVID-19, recently we have often seen the concept of “with coronavirus,” which is to live with the coronavirus while taking moderate measures. Each store is rethinking their value and starting new initiatives. As customers’ awareness of sustainability grows, “working to procure sustainable drinks” is one such new value.

[Related Article]


[Reference Site] Survey on the coronavirus pandemic and awareness of lifestyle and environmental issues
[Reference Site] The results of the working team’s surveys on the actual status of food loss and case studies are introduced.
[Reference Site] Sankt Gallen will release “Winter Fruit Tart Ale,” a beer that is like drinking Stollen on November 25, 2021. Utilizing “flawed” figs ripened on the trees in Kanagawa Prefecture.
[Reference Site] KOBE SHU-SHIN-KAN, a company that is committed to sustainable sake brewing, sells the world’s first carbon-zero sake.
[Reference Site]All proceeds from the sale of sake are donated to Ukraine. Urgent release of charity sake for humanitarian aid.
[Reference Site] Sake for Charity: Sake for Humanity in Ukraine – A sequel to the charity sake that sold out 1,099 bottles in 5 days is now on sale.
[Reference Site] Champagne brand Terre Monts, which is committed to a sustainable future, offers a unique opportunity to enjoy Champagne in the nature of Okinawa.
[Reference Site] Pear sparkling made from 100% Japanese pears produced in Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture.
[Reference Site] Japanese Botanical Lab Sake|Forest Gin
[Reference Site] Forestry Agency: Current Status and Issues of the Forest, Forestry and Lumber Industries
[Reference Site] Minami-Izu Submarine Aged Wine “SUBRINA”, which has been the topic of an Amazon commercial. Act 4 2020″ will be available for pre-order from June 21 (Tue.). Pre-order bonus included!

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