Coedo and the World's First Sweet Potato Beer

Coedo and the World's First Sweet Potato Beer

Who knew organic farming could lead to the creation of the world's first sweet potato beer?

The Origin of Coedo

It all started with a family who started organic farming in the early 1970s in Kawagoe, Japan. Agriculture has been one of the core industries for hundreds of years at Kawagoe. 

Ask any farmer and they'll say that the key to farming is healthy soil, and the people of Kawagoe have a secret to how they achieve that - barley. Barley is used as green manure. The farmers don't harvest the barley, they mix it in the soil.

"Can the barley be made to produce beer?" - that was the one question the people at Coedo asked that led down the road to opening their craft beer brewery. 

The Birth of Coedo Brewery

In Japan, there isn't an independent malting industry. And we know that malt is important in the brewing process of beer. But, there's the barley, right? Unfortunately, there's only so much barley that can be used before the soil starts going bad. But, there's always a silver lining. 

This situation was the spark that fueled the idea of brewing beer using sweet potatoes (which is also a well-known agricultural produce in the region). With that, the recipe for the world's first sweet potato beer was born in 1996.  

 It's safe to say that sweet potato beer would not be possible without the agricultural community in Kawagoe. 

The Japanese Microbrews Scene

 In 1994, with the easing of legal restrictions, the Japanese local beer movement was born. Small-batch brewing requires brewmasters with extensive training, and with the sudden surge in locally owned breweries, these brewmaster were in short supply. 

Resulting in unsophisticated beer that was more of a souvenir for tourists rather than a pint to be enjoyed after a long day - this led to beers being largely unlikeable. 

This took a blow to Coedo's brewing business. But, they didn't give up! 

Learning the Ways of Brewing

It was at this point that Coedo invited Christian Mitterbauer - a German who comes from a long line of braumeisters to teach what he knew. Coedo’s brewmasters studied under Mitterbauer on-site for five full years to learn his craft. The artisan brewers of Coedo form the heart of their operations, having inherited Mitterbauer’s pride in strict, time-tested craftsmanship and a passion for keeping traditional techniques alive.

Though obstacles may lie on the road ahead, it just paves way to innovation and creativity that sometimes results in something amazing - like a sweet potato beer! Need a recommendation on which of their beers to try? Check out our top 5 picks here

Until next time, cheers!



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