Why is This Hiroshima Guy’s Glass of Beer So Superb?
When you run into such great beer, you will want to try all five types. But Yutaka’s rules permit only two glasses per person on any visit. If you want a third glass, you will need to return to the back of the queue or come back another day.
It doesn’t end there. This beer stand opens only for two hours, from 17:00 to 19:00. For this mere two-hour business period, people come from many places in Japan, and for the two-hour operation, three to four hours will be spent by Yutaka to prepare. Why does this place close so early? The answer is related to the next rule.
The final rule: there is no food at this beer stand. It would be easy to imagine Yutaka also selling fried potatoes, sausages, edamame beans and many other snacks that perfect for eating with beer. But, not even dry nuts are available here. This is Yutaka’s intention, that customers who enjoyed two glasses of beer there will also drop by nearby restaurants to enjoy some food. He strongly believes in co-prosperity. He prioritizes “contribution to the local community” over a profit-first operation. “I want to energize Hiroshima with tasty draft beer,” Yutaka said.
“When I wholeheartedly serve beer to customers on their way home from work, I see their faces instantly become smiley. Then, they’ll be relaxed and be able to give smiles to their neighbors,” Yutaka said. “A glass of beer has the ability to give the human mind a little space.”
A full-hearted beer can transcend beer itself, becoming something more than mere beer. In that sense, beer can play the role of “means to convey emotion.” Pouring beer into a shiny glass which was cleaned with a full heart is totally opposite to pure business efficiency. However, it’s this opposing model to a business ideal – in other words, the wish to make people happy – that is the very secret to attracting customers who come all the way to Hiroshima via the Shinkansen bullet train. It may also be a key to revitalizing small stores.
According to the most recent tourist data, visitors to Hiroshima exceed 12.6 million a year – 10% of Japan’s population. The number is still on the rise, with tourists both from home and abroad*7. Many foreign tourists love to visit the A-bomb dome and Peace Memorial Park. No wonder. But, you may not want to miss a visit to this tiny beer stand while you are in Hiroshima!
Story by Motomi Takahashi
*2：国税庁「酒のしおり」、およびRobobank Roboresearch Food & Agribusiness