A beer from japan arrived in my city: Kirin Ichiban. The main argument that the brand gives is "100% malt, first press beer". In the link above they explain a little of it.

In my experience with homebrew, where I am focused only in my pleasure, not really in the money spent, I understand that sparge is very usefull to take apart all of the sugars off the grains. Thinking that we are talking about a industry, certainly they are more concerned about brew efficiency and money than me.

Can we believe in this assumption or its only about advertisement and fooling people? Thanks in advice.

  • 2
    I'm thinking its just marketing jargon, intended to give the consumer the same impression as extra virgin olive oil. In a typical Asian lager (very light body due to rice), using only first runnings would be totally counter-productive to the style, I would think.
    – Graham
    Jul 8, 2014 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


Efficient use of materials is certainly a problem if you only take the first runnings and do not sparge, but it's not as much of a problem if you practice partigyle brewing. Partigyle used to be a common practice in many breweries to brew separate beers with the first, second, and, occasionally, third runnings from the mash. This might be very cost effective for a large brewer, since they can essentially get two "brands" out of a single mash. It will be even more effective if the country has laws taxing malt beverages at different levels depending on ABV. Japan has happoshu, but I believe the law is about % malt in the grain bill, not strictly ABV, so a second runnings beer would probably not qualify for the lower tax.

So, in short, only brewing from the first runnings does not necessarily entail that the brewer doesn't care about efficient use of their ingredients. That might be the case, but without knowing whether Kirin practices partigyle, couldn't say for certain.


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