Crucible Brewing’s Paul Maychrzak pours Crucible beers at the recent American Craft Beer Experience at TMMT Hall in Tokyo. This is the fifth year that American brewers have been invited to pour their beers at the event put on by the American Brewers Association.

Crucible Brewing’s Paul Maychrzak pours Crucible beers at the recent American Craft Beer Experience at TMMT Hall in Tokyo. This is the fifth year that American brewers have been invited to pour their beers at the event put on by the American Brewers Association.

Drink this: Everett’s Crucible Brewing pours beer in Japan

Head brewer Paul Maychrzak went to Tokyo to serve Crucible beer at the American Craft Beer Experience.

About a year ago, Crucible Brewing began sending its beer to Japan through the distributor Beer Cats.

The connection is a profound one for Crucible head brewer and co-owner Dick Mergens. His wife, Miko, is from Utsunomiya, just north of Tokyo, and he is very familiar with Japan and Japanese culture.

In fact, Miko helped connect Crucible with Japan. One of her close friends is a respected chef in Japan and was once roommates with the owner of Beer Cats. She told him about Crucible’s beer and they invited the Everett brewery to send some of their beer over.

Since then, Crucible has been sending beer to Japan through Beer Cats distribution network. Because of that partnership, Mergens and Crucible operations manager Paul Maychrzak were recently invited to Tokyo to pour Crucible beer at the American Craft Beer Experience, an American-beer themed festival put on by the Brewers Association of America to promote exports.

It was Mergens’ sixth time in Japan — he visits his wife’s family and friends every other year — so I asked him a few questions about the trip and the American craft beer scene in Japan:

Where did your trip take you?

We didn’t really leave Tokyo prefecture, but we spent most of our times in Otsuka and Ikebukuro (two areas of Tokyo).

How was the festival?

So much fun. It was very, very busy and quite a bit different than most festivals in Washington. They also run things a lot differently: Breweries or distributors are allowed to sell half pints or pints of beer and the festival just takes a percentage of sales. Festival goers are generally more apt to want to speak to whoever is pouring the beer than at American fests, so it almost mixes in some of the taproom experience.

We were in very good company. But we were definitely among the smaller breweries represented. Heretic, Melvin, Sierra Nevada, Left Hand, The Virginia Beer Co. and a lot of other larger breweries were around. I even saw one booth that was pouring Crikey (IPA) from Reuben’s Brews, although (Reuben’s) didn’t have anyone pouring for them.

What is the beer scene like in Japan?

I would say it is about 10 years behind us, which puts them in a major craft beer explosion. There are a number of craft breweries opening and a much larger variety of styles available to consumers.

How is American-style beers perceived in Japan?

It is exciting for the Japanese beer drinkers. Considering that we have been consuming craft beer for a longer time, and have been more experimental over the years, it is exciting for them to be able to have a quality product that is different than what they normally have available.

What is Crucible’s footprint in Japan?

We are mostly in Tokyo and the surrounding areas. However, I believe we are on tap in a few places outside of Tokyo, like Yokohama. Since February, we’ve been sending about 10 to 15 barrels per month to Japan.

How do you market it over there there?

We don’t handle too much of the marketing, as our distributor takes care of most of it. While we were in Japan, however, Paul and I spent a lot of time on the subways getting around to the variety of places that stock our beer on a regular basis. It’s very important for the owners to be available and speak with clients. It shows them a lot of respect to take the time out of your schedule to just say hi.

Do you anticipate going back for more festivals?

The American craft beer experience is going to be held every November, so you can expect to see Crucible over there. Next year my wife and family are coming with me, and it will be perfect timing for my daughters who will be turning 3 and 7 to celebrate Shichi-Go-San (literally “seven-five-three”). It’s a traditional Japanese celebration that takes place on children’s third, fifth and seventh years.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Life

The Stumbling Fiddler Band is scheduled to perform March 3 in Everett. (Photo provided by Port Gardner Bay Music Society)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Get ready for St. Patrick’s Day with music by the Stumbling Fiddler Band in Everett.

A heart shaped hand tossed pepperoni pizza, left, and eight-corner Detroit style veggie pizza, right, from Jet’s Pizza on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, at the Everett Herald newsroom in Everett. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Detroit-original Jet’s Pizza lands in WA with thick-crust pies and more

The national chain’s Lynnwood joint is the first in the state. The pizza is tasty — hot or cold. And it makes good date food.

The future of fashion: Moving toward a sustainable wardrobe

Over 22 billion pounds of textiles are thrown away each year in the U.S. How do we tackle such a massive problem? Start small.

What we might call a bar cart began as Victorian England’s tea trolley

Whatever you call it and however you use it, this birch wood cart with white enameled wheels attracted $2,650 at auction.

Bring summer’s bounty home by growing blueberries in your own backyard

Here’s a look at great several varieties to consider, along with tips on how to ensure your little home orchard thrives.

The 2024 Volkswagen Atlas includes new wheel designs for all trim levels. (Volkswagen)
Volkswagen Atlas more handsome than ever for 2024

The mid-size SUV also has a new engine and an increase in the number of standard features.

Ryan Carlson’s goose Bubba honks at cars outside his home on Monday Feb. 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
What’s honkin’ on this Everett thoroughfare? Have a gander

Henrietta and Betty, a goose duet, entertain passersby in the yard between Colby Avenue and Evergreen Way.

Jon Pardi performs during the 2023 CMA Fest on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Country star Jon Pardi’s “Mr. Saturday Night World Tour” stops in Everett for a show Feb. 16.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 (Provided by Mercedes-Benz)
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500

The electric SUV certainly stands out from the crowd.

Red foliage of the weeping Laceleaf Japanese Maple tree (Acer palmatum) background texture. High quality photo.
A well-pruned laceleaf Japanese maple can liven up your yard year-round

If you have one of these stunning specimens, now’s the time to cut back dead branches. If not, add one to your landscape.

The Snohomish County PUD’s outage map can be found online at (screenshot)
New and improved outage map keeps you in the know when you’re in the dark

The interactive online tool lets you report an outage, see outages around you and receive updates on restoration efforts.

These pickles mark your spot and serve as memorable advertising for Heinz

Whimsical, attention-grabbing bookmarks like these are both fun and practical. This set of nine sold for $130 at auction.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.