Kirin Company

Last updated
Kirin Holdings Company, Limited
Native name
Romanized name
Kirin Hōrudingusu kabushiki gaisha
FormerlyJapan Brewery Company, Limited
Type Public KK
Industry Beverage
PredecessorSpring Valley Brewery Company
Founded1888;133 years ago (1888)
Founder William Copeland
Thomas Blake Glover
Key people
Hideki Horiguchi (President and CEO)
ServicesStrategic management and oversight of the domestic beverage business.
Number of employees
30,464 (consolidated)
Divisions Kirin Brewery Company, Limited; Mercian Corporation; Kirin Beverages Company, Limited
A can of Kirin Ichiban Kirin ichiban(beer can).jpg
A can of Kirin Ichiban

Kirin Brewery Company, Limited (麒麟麦酒株式会社, Kirin Bīru Kabushiki Kaisha) is a Japanese integrated beverages company. It is a subsidiary of Kirin Holdings Company, Limited. Its major operating units include Kirin Brewery Company, Limited, Mercian Corporation and Kirin Beverages Company, Limited. Kirin is a member of the Mitsubishi Group.



The Japan Brewery Company, Limited, the forerunner of Kirin Brewery, was established in 1885, taking over the assets of the Spring Valley Brewery, first founded in Yokohama in 1869 by Norwegian-American brewer, William Copeland. In a deal brokered by Thomas Blake Glover, the Japan Brewery was incorporated in Hong Kong in the name of W.H. Talbot and E.H. Abbott with financial backing provided by a group of Japanese investors including Iwasaki Yanosuke, then-president of Mitsubishi. [1] [2]

The Japan Brewery first began marketing Kirin Beer in 1888. The Kirin Brewery Company was established as a separate legal entity in February 1907, purchasing the assets of the Japan Brewery and expanding the business in an era of growing consumer demand. Kirin Brewery built on the traditions of the Japan Brewery retaining the use of malted grains and hops imported from Germany and employing German brewers to oversee production. An exclusive partnership with Meidi-ya proved highly successful in the marketing of Kirin's beers both in Japan and overseas. [3]

Corporate overview

Kirin Brewery sells two of the most popular beers in Japan: Kirin Lager, one of the country's oldest beer brands, brewed since 1888; and Ichiban Shibori. Within the happoshu (low-malt) category, Kirin Tanrei is the top seller. Kirin handles domestic distribution for several foreign brands, including Budweiser and Heineken.

Kirin's brewery operations also extend overseas, through strategic alliances, subsidiaries, and affiliates, to China, Taiwan, Australia, the Philippines, Europe, New Zealand and the United States. The company holds a 100% [4] stake in Lion Nathan Limited, a consolidated subsidiary that is based in Australia but has particularly important operations in China. Kirin has a 48% [5] stake in San Miguel Brewery, the dominant brewer in the Philippines. Kirin now applies its fermentation technology to areas such as plant genetics, pharmaceuticals, and bioengineering. Although brewing and related businesses remain the core of Kirin's activities, the company is also involved in several other sectors: hard liquor, wine, soft drinks, and food products.

In Japanese, "Kirin" can refer to giraffes, or to Qilin (麒麟), the mythical hooved Chinese chimerical creatures in East Asian culture. Kirin Brewery is named after the latter.

In December 2006, the Kirin Brewery Company of Japan purchased a 25% stake in Hangzhou Qiandaohu Beer Co., Ltd. for US$38 million. [6]

On 14 July 2009, Kirin announced that it was in negotiations with Suntory on a merger. [7] On 8 February 2010, it was announced that negotiations between the two had been terminated. [8]

In early 2010 Kirin's Agribio business was sold to Dutch H2 Equity Partners; now it's part of Dümmen Orange. [9]

In 2010, 23.4 percent of Kirin's sales were made overseas, the highest overseas revenue among all Japanese breweries. [10]

In October 2011, the court decided that Kirin could buy a majority stake in family-run Brazilian beer Schincariol. Kirin bought a 50.45 percent stake in 2011, valued at $2.6 billion. [11]

In November 2011, Kirin Holdings Company agreed to buy out the remaining shareholders in Brazilian beermaker Schincariol Participacoes e Representacoes, completing its biggest acquisition as it sees growth in emerging markets ($1.35 billion was paid for the 49.54 percent stake, giving it control of all outstanding shares). [12]

In November 2012, Kirin changed Schincariol's name to Brasil Kirin. [13]

In 2013 Kirin joined leading alcohol producers as part of a producers' commitments to reducing harmful drinking. [14]

In February 2013, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi bought the 15% stake of Singapore's Fraser & Neave (F&N), a property-to-drinks conglomerate, from Kirin for US$1.6 billion. [15]

In July 2014, Kirin announced its intention to revive the Spring Valley Brewery brand as a wholly owned subsidiary company to focus on producing and retailing microbrewery style beers produced using traditional ingredients and brewing methods. [16]

On January 20, 2017, Heineken NV and Kirin Holdings confirmed they were in negotiations for Heineken to acquire Brasil Kirin. [17]

On February 5, 2018, Kirin Holdings announced the acquisition of 95% outstanding shares in Kyowa Hakko Bio Co. Ltd, from Kyowa Hakko Kirin to expand to wellness and bio-chemical products. [18]

On August 6, 2019, Kirin Holdings announced it would take a 33% stake in cosmetics and dietary supplements company Fancl Corp for US$1.21 billion. [19]

Holdings in Japan

Alcoholic beverage business

Soft drink business




Real estate

Other core businesses

Nutrient food




Holdings outside Japan

Alcohol business

Soft drink business

Pharmaceutical business

Agribio business

Other business

See also

Related Research Articles

Kirin may refer to:

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  2. Alexander, Jeffrey W. (2013). Brewed in Japan: The Evolution of the Japanese Beer Industry. Vancouver, BC, Canada: UBC Press. p. 19. ISBN   978-0-7748-2504-7.
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  4. News Kirin Holdings. 2009
  5. Kirin Holdings Completes Acquisition of San Miguel Brewery Shares Kirin Holdings. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  7. キリン:サントリーと経営統合へ交渉 - 毎日jp(毎日新聞) Archived 2012-07-10 at Mainichi Shimbun (Retrieved 13 July 2009)
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  14. "Home | Producers' Commitments". Producers' Commitments. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
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  18. "Kirin Pushes Expansion of Wellness Business in $1.2 Billion Deal". Bloomberg. Feb 5, 2018.
  19. "Kirin to Become Fancl's Top Shareholder". 2019-08-06. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  20. "F&N shares hit record high as tussle continues". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  21. "Let's set the record straight : Blog : Brooklyn Brewery". The Brooklyn Brewery. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
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  24. Denis Paiste (6 April 2007). "Moxie, same taste, new owner". New Hampshire Union Leader. Union Leader Corporation. p. B3. Retrieved 25 November 2007.