The Story Behind the Name of Kirin Ichiban, Japan’s Premium Beer

The stuff of legends.

One of the most popular beer brands in Japan, Kirin Ichiban is the stuff of legends—literally.

Kirin Brewery takes its name from the qilin, a powerful creature from ancient Chinese mythology that resembles a long-necked deer. It’s also referred to as the Japanese unicorn, a creature that’s said to be a good omen, portending prosperity and happiness for those who come across it. And isn’t that what beer is all about?

A 100-percent malt beer, Kirin Ichiban was brought to the Philippines just last year by its subsidiary, San Miguel Brewery. Its brewing process is a testament to Japan’s rich beer culture; Kirin Ichiban is produced using only the first press of the wort to ensure a clearer, purer, and more refined taste.

Photo by Kirin Brewery.

Just last month, Takayuki Fuse, president and CEO of Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd., Kenji Uchiyama, executive vice president of San Miguel Brewery Inc., and Fumiaki Ozawa, executive vice president San Miguel Brewing International Ltd., paid the Philippines a visit. They were welcomed by the team from Hotel Okura Manilageneral manager Jan Marshall, F&B manager and executive chef Roald Schuur, Yamazato Japanese executive chef Rinnosuke Mouri, and Okura Nikko's head of operational planning division Kojiro Odasealing a solid relationship between the two luxury brands.


Located in the Resorts World Manila complex in Pasay City, Hotel Okura Manila is a 188-room hotel from the prestigious Japanese hotel group, Okura Nikko. Hotel Okura Manila is scheduled to be opened by the end of 2019.

The hotel will also house the first Japanese restaurant in Europe that earned a Michelin star: Yamazato. The much-awaited establishment will also open by the end of 2019, coinciding with the launch of Hotel Okura Manila.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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