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This All-Female, Japanese-Brazilian Brewery is Bringing its Craft to the United States

This month Japas Cervejaria Co-Founders Maíra Kimura, Yumi Shimada, and Fernanda Ueno will travel the United States together for the first time on a whirlwind east-to-west coast trip that includes pop-up events, beer collaborations, and distributor meetings. This all-female, Nipo-Brazilian trio hopes to share their passion, craft and culture with the United States and beyond.

Nipo-Brazilians, or Japanese-Brazilians, are Brazilian born individuals with Japanese ancestry. Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, stemming from Japanese emigration to Brazil in 1908 when the Japanese ship Kasato-Maru arrived in the port of Santos, south of São Paulo.

“Through Japas we got deeply connected with our ancestry and we got to know our past better. It also connected us more with our families as our lineage and history are proudly showcased in the beer,” says Kimura who also serves as a brewer and business strategist for Japas. “Through this process of beer-making, we learn about ourselves and about Japanese culture every day.”

Japas” is slang that refers to those of Japanese descent. While the term can be permissible to some, Japas co-founders are clear that the term should only be used when given permission or in reference to the brewery. In harnessing the word and bringing it into the brand, the women of Japas are ressignifying and reappropriating “Japas” to showcase their pride in their origins and mixed cultures and translating that directly into their beer.

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Every Japas beer tells a story – from an American Pale Ale with wasabi delicately added during the maturation of the beer, a refreshing sour with an addition of Yuzu, and notably, Kasato Maru, an IPA that honors the ship arriving in Brazil in 1908 that would launch future generations of immigrants, such as the families of Kimura, Shimada and Ueno; Kasato Maru features dekopon, a tangerine of Japanese origin that also arrived as an “immigrant” to brazil.

“We like to combine Japanese ingredients and concepts in our recipes whenever possible,” says Ueno who also serves as a brewer for Japas. “We are passionate about gastronomy and enjoy visiting restaurants and markets in our daily lives and travels, especially when in Japan so you can see these influences in our beer.”

 

Japas works with Beerternational, a woman-owned company and platform that helps brew, distribute and sell their beers in the U.S. Currently, Japas beer is in ten markets in the United States, including California, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Coming soon—Japas will also be in South Carolina and Texas.

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Below are Japas’ upcoming events and releases:

  • Thursday, August 11: SABI Collaboration Release Party at Lamplighter Brewing CX (110 N First St, Cambridge, MA 02141) from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 14: Food and Beer Pairing at Fortnight Wine Bar (187 Mathewson St, Providence, RI 02903) from 5 p.m. to midnight. This event will highlight nine different Japas beers
  • Wednesday, August 17: Sakagura Dinner with Japas at Sakagura (211 43rd St B1, New York, NY 10017) from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 18: Tap Takeover at The Jeffrey NYC Craft Beer & Bites (311 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022) from 5 p.m. to close
  • Friday, August 19: Happy Hour and Meet the Brewers with Japas at Kimura (31 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003) from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 20: Chasing Japas Brunch at Izakaya Juraku (121 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002) from 12 to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 20: Meet the Brewer at Flatiron Restaurant (397 5th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11215) from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, August 26: Fireside Chat with Japas Cervejaria at TETRA Hotel (400 W Java Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089) at 5:30 p.m. Free admission. Eventbrite link.
  • Friday, August 26: Japas Cervejaria Brewers Dinner at Adrestia at TETRA Hotel (400 W Java Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089) at 6:30 p.m. Eventbrite link.
  • Saturday, August 27: Japas Cervejaria & Friends Summer Celebration at TETRA Hotel (400 W Java Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089) from 12 to 3 p.m. Tickets cost $35 and include unlimited beer. Eventbrite link.
  • Thursday, September 8: Haziju-k United States release at Against the Grain Brewery (401 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202)
  • More to come. Stay tuned!

As the women of Japas increase their reach through storytelling and beer, they hope to be champions for diversity in an industry that is particularly male-dominated.

“Our role is to raise awareness not only for our empowerment within feminism and Asian causes, but also to embrace all kinds of diversity that are often excluded,” says Shimada, who also serves as creative director for Japas. “Because we are women and Japanese-descendants in a world of white and male dominance, it is more important than ever to show that representation matters.”

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