Meet a Member: Toshihiko Oki

In “Meet a Member,” we highlight the people who make up the North American Guild of Beer Writers. It’s a chance to learn more about the wide collection of journalists, podcasters, bloggers, and vloggers who cover the industry. See and archive of these Q&A profiles.

Toki holds up a green bottle of beer

Where can people find you on social media?

@toshihiko.oki.75 on Facebook, @craft_drinks on Twitter and Instagram

Where can people find your work?

You can find my articles on Craft Drinks, and I have also contributed to Toyo Keizai Online, the biggest online business magazine in Japan, as a specialist for domestic alcohol industry. Since I am Japanese, I usually write articles in Japanese.

What topics do you usually cover?

There are two main topics of my articles: The first is about craft beer and its community in Japan. Japan has a unique culture, including Japanese language and lifestyle. The relationship between Japanese and craft beer seems to be different in many ways from that in North America. That is what interests me. The other is the domestic industry and economy of alcoholic beverages, especially craft beer. using my experience as a beer importer and distributor, I have written articles about the distribution, sales, and market trends of alcoholic beverages in Japan.

What topics would you like to cover more in the future?

My recent interest is focused on the relationship between beer and something next to beer: cider, mead, hard seltzer, sake and so on. Some Japanese young brewers try to brew new beers with the method of sake brewing. Of course, koji is also notable. It is very exciting that the boarder line is disappearing.

People should consider me an expert on ___________:

Market trends. For a long time I have written articles about the current business situations and issues in Japan’s domestic craft beer scene.

What’s a favorite thing you’ve created in the last year?

It was to self-publish a book on the current state of the craft beer market and its market share in Japan. The beer industry in Japan is generally dominated by the four major mega breweries, and the domestic craft beer industry is so small that people cannot find any data. No one knew exactly how craft beer was positioned in the Japanese market. I found that the share of craft beer in Japan in 2018 was about 1.2%. It was a difficult survey for me, but I was very happy to be able to show that specific number. I will continue this work in the future.

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