We built the core of our portfolio by choosing category-leading world beers that are consistent in quality, appealing to consumers and attractively priced. We then take painstaking measures to keep these beers in optimal condition at every step – from factory to ship to warehouse to local distributor. As a pioneer in Japan’s beer-import business, we are proud of our role in introducing a world of great beers to Japan’s bars, restaurants and retailers.
Beers come in many distinctive styles and types, and navigating them can be a daunting (though ultimately enjoyable) undertaking. To make things easier to understand, we’ve narrowed everything down to three overall “umbrella” styles (ale, lager and weizen beers) that basically cover the beers of the world. The core of our beer portfolio is made up of category-leading brands that represent the best of these three essential styles.
Drinking occasions also vary quite a bit, and different drinks might be appropriate depending on whether you’re in a quiet cafe or a busy club or an Asian restaurant. To meet these needs, we offer three more categories that are suitable for a wide variety of occasions. Check them all out below and see which ones might be best for your establishment’s drinks menu.
With their rich, distinctive flavor profiles, traditional British ales were the original craft beers – a big inspiration for today’s craft-beer movement. Our first flagship ale is London Pride, a premium bitter ale from London’s legendary Fuller’s Brewery. Smooth and complex in flavor, with a malty base and well-developed hop character, this classic English pint is without a doubt London’s favorite beer.
Newcastle Brown Ale is our second featured ale. Celebrated as the iconic ale of Northeastern England, it ranks as the UK’s best-selling bottled ale. Smooth and mild, with caramel flavors and a hint of nuttiness, this is an ale that’s easy to drink on its own or with food.
With their well-balanced drinkability and their unique appeal to beer fans, our ales are a popular choice for cafes and specialty beer bars as well as more food-centered settings. London Pride is well matched to foods with robust flavors, from roast chicken to Chinese gyoza dumplings. Newcastle Brown Ale is a natural for meaty dishes like beef stew and shepherd’s pie.
German-style wheat beers have their own distinctive character – complex in flavor and stimulating to the palate, with hints of clove, banana and light citrus flavors. Two major styles of wheat beers are Hefe-weizen (unfiltered and yeasty, light in color) and Dunkel-weizen (darker in color, with raisin and caramel notes).
Our flagship brand for this style is Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier Naturtrub – Germany’s most popular wheat beer and a brew that defines the weizen style.
Weizen beers are very food-friendly and quite versatile. They pair well with a range of cuisines – Mexican food; sausages, ham and other cured pork dishes; shellfish dishes; and even spicy Indian cuisine.
Lagers are hands-down the most popular beers in the world. Clean-tasting and thirst-quenching, the style originated in the late 19th century in the Kingdom of Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), and was soon adopted throughout Germany. Well-balanced traditional pilsner-style lagers from this region still define the style.
Our flagship beers in this category are Krombacher Pils, the best-selling pilsner in Germany, and Budvar, the Czech Republic’s original pilsner and its number-one export beer.
Thanks to their cleanness of flavor, traditional lagers are the go-to beer for any kind of food, standing up to spicy flavors but complementing more subtle dishes like seafood and grilled meats. Mildly bitter and suitable for session drinking, traditional pilsners like Budvar and Krombacher provide a refreshing alternative to common, everyday lagers.
Some beers are just perfect for party time – whether it’s at the beach, at a concert or in a bustling bar or club. We call this our “beer culture” collection – a line-up of well-known international beer brands that will add extra fun and adventure to a night out.
Our duo of flagship beers are easy-to-drink, refreshing lagers with a bit of a tropical feel. Sol, with a proud history dating back to 1899, represents the “Spirit of Mexico” and is gaining popularity as the modern, stylish choice in this category. And Estrella Galicia is the best-selling premium lager in Northern Spain.
“Beer culture” brands are fun beers, adding breadth and international variety to a bar’s drinks list. They’re also an easy way to liven up a restaurant’s offerings. Sol is a sophisticated choice to accompany Mexican food and Estrella Galicia is the natural choice for paella and seafood dishes.
Recently there has been a huge surge in interest in craft beers in Japan among food connoisseurs and adventurous drinkers. The more intense flavors of craft beers are strongly appealing to an ever-widening audience, and the addition of craft-beer choices to a drinks menu can be a major draw for a bar or cafe.
While there’s a bewildering variety of craft-beer brews and breweries out there, Ikon has focused on well-established brewers with high-quality product, stable supply and accessible price point. Our first featured craft beer is from Seattle brewery Red Hook, established in 1981 and widely recognized as a pioneer in the US craft-beer industry. Red Hook’s ESB (extra-special bitter) is now featured at branches of Starbucks Japan that serve alcohol, giving it increased brand recognition.
Our second featured craft beer is from another early pioneer, Widmer Brothers Brewing of Portland, Oregon. Widmer Hefe, an American-style Hefeweizen, was introduced to wide acclaim back in 1986, and it has the distinction of being Oregon’s favorite craft beer.
Our craft beers stand up well on their own in cafes, bars and specialty beer bars. In a more food-focused setting, the caramel-malt sweetness and subtle fruit-hop flavors of Red Hook ESB pair well with full-flavored fare – burgers, grilled meats, pizza and spicy curries. The smooth-drinking Widmer Hefe has spice notes and citrus and floral aromas – a nice match for lighter dishes like pastas, salads, seafood and even simple desserts.
British-style sparkling apple cider is a relative newcomer to Japanese drinks menus. With its low alcohol content (similar to beer) it’s much lighter than wine or cocktails, making it an appealing option for non-beer drinkers. Straight up or on the rocks, it works equally well on its own or with food.
Our first featured brand, Louis Raison, is an authentic French cider made by expert Cider Masters from apples grown in their own private orchards. It is a long established brand with a tradition extending back over 100 years. Next up is Maeloc Sidra which is made exclusively with apples from the Galicia region in Northern Spain. Made according to the traditional methods of the region, this is very drinkable cider. Last but not least is Magners. Ireland’s most popular cider made from 17 varieties of apple blended to an exquisite balance. Well known all over the world from Australia to America, it is a popular must have item for any pub drinks menu.
Refreshing all by itself, cider also pairs well with a surprising range of dishes. Dessert items like doughnuts and pancakes are a good match, as well as savory pastry-style foods like quiche. Cider also complements roast pork or kakuni pork stew, roast chicken, roast vegetables and mild curries.