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"Brewed in Japan" a history of beer in the Land of the Rising Sun

Brewed in Japan
Guest lecturer Dr. Jeffery Alexander traced the history of Japanese beer and whisky consumption in his presentation "Brewed in Japan" on Nov. 10 at Market Place in Dahlonega.

A group of about 50 University of North Georgia (UNG) faculty, staff and guests gathered at the Market Place in downtown Dahlonega on Friday evening, Nov. 10, to listen to how beer and whisky came to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Dr. Jeffery Alexander, dean of arts and sciences at Pueblo Community College in Colorado, took attendees at his presentation, "Brewed in Japan: The Evolution of the Japanese Beer Industry," on a history journey of how that country adapted and domesticated beer and whisky in just a few generations.

Based on his 2013 book by the same name, Alexander talked about how in the 1890s European settlers, mostly Germans, imported everything to brew beer—ingredients, equipment and techniques—and began serving it, "one glass at a time," to the native population that had never tasted it before.

Gradually, the Japanese themselves took over beer production, growing hops, making bottles, refining the process to suit their own tastes. Over time, dozens of breweries proliferated, with one, Kirin, dominating the industry in the early 20th century.

The event was sponsored by the UNG College of Arts and Letters, through the East Asian Studies program; attendees were also given the opportunity to sample a variety of Japanese beers, sakes and whiskies.

"The event was part of our series on Japan and Japanese culture," said Dr. Christopher Jespersen, dean of the College of Arts & Letters. "We got started with a Japan Foundation award in 2016, and the speaker series is jointly funded by the college and the Japan Foundation."

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