Budo Sansho

Extensive uses of budo sansho


Budo sansho alcoholic beverages

Unlocking the potential of craft beer
The allure of budo sansho

Takumi Kaneko
Brewer/PR Manager

CAMPS Aridagawa Co., Ltd.

Interview date:2020.6.29

NOMCRAFT Brewing, operating at the mixed-use facility of a redeveloped preschool

Takumi Kaneko—Brewer & PR Manager

What is there gives this craft beer a unique character

surrounded by expansive mikan (mandarin) groves stretching along the Aridagawa River, the vermilion-colored roof of NOMCRAFT Brewing (“Nomcraft”) stands out against the green of the mountains and blue skies.

Nomcraft, which opened in 2016 on the site of a closed preschool, is a craft brewery run by Ben Emrich from Portland, USA, Adam Baran from Chicago, and Takumi Kaneko from Aichi Prefecture, who produce beer.

“IPA (Indian Pale Ale) and Golden Ale are the two beers brewed for the regular menu lineup. In addition, brews include an original beer of the month, and beers made using mikan and dekopon (sumo mandarin) harvested in Aridagawa town, honey with bergamot, and other ingredients.”

At Nomcraft, dozens of varieties of hops from Germany, Belgium, Canada and the United States are used, and about 40 different types, and 25 tons of beer have been brewed to date. Meanwhile, feelings of wondering—can’t we make the most of ingredients with local roots in our beer making? —grew stronger.

“The building blocks in beer making are water, hops, yeast, and the secondary products that determine the character of the beer. Designing the flavors by combining aromas and bitterness, is where you demonstrate your skill as a brewer. Budo sansho was the perfect ingredient for us to give expression to the exhilaration and hoppiness that we’re known for. Also, when you run a brewery in Aridagawa, there is no way that you’re going to avoid budo sansho!”—Kaneko-san gives a laugh.

Nice and gently invigorating, Budo Sansho Beer

Nomcraft currently has two budo sansho beers in its lineup, SANSHO NOMCRAFT IPA and NOMNOM SANSHO GOLDEN. Each of the regular menu craft beers has budo sansho produced in Aridagawa added to it.

Kaneko-san explains, “Five types of hops are used in SANSHO NOMCRAFT IPA. You’ll notice a citrusy, tropical flavor and a subtle sansho invigoration that tingles the throat. NOMNOM SANSHO GOLDEN was produced with special emphasis on giving a refreshing feeling. You can enjoy sophisticated and elegant flavors, making it a beer of choice any time, any place—as a drink after work, or at a BBQ on the weekend.”

As you take a sip, you find aromas of fruit in season, tropical flavors, and an exhilarating sensation that pierces the nasal passages.

“Our feature is IPA, one that is based on an American IPA with an emphasis on the bitterness and aroma of the hops. We really want everyone to get a taste of the elegant and refreshing hoppiness that can be felt when hops are added liberally,” says Kaneko-san.


Malt that defines the taste and flavor of craft beer

Energy is poured into the bottle design as well, including icons created with the scenery of Aridagawa River and budo sansho as motifs

Connecting people with people, people with towns. The power of craft beer.

If you ask Kaneko-san about the appeal of beer making, he’ll tell you, “Meeting people I would never have met.”

He explains, “When I was in my 20s, I was traveling around Portland, and it was a meeting with someone from Aridagawa Town that led to my “here” and “now.” Small, random connections have led to life-changing developments and turning points. I believe that’s what craft beer has the power to do.”

Beer is brewed by brewers. So who is constructing this brewery? Who grows the ingredients for the beer?

It’s not just budo sansho—all the ingredients used as secondary products in the beer are supplied by Aridagawa farmers. The furniture and beer cases used at the brewery were made at a local workshop. Conversely, the malt meal that is disposed of during the brewing process is given away to neighboring poultry farms to be used as a nutrient-rich feed.

A lot of people involved in the brewery are fostering the culture of craft beer.

We’re curious to find out who has drunk beer from Nomcraft. The brewery, founded by three young men, apparently also makes beer with budo sansho. More than anything else, Aridagawa Town is known nationwide as a budo sansho production region. How about we go and take a closer look next time we’re passing nearby...

A little bit of awareness, a passing interest, this can be the catalyst that moves people. Such is the power of craft beer.

Adam and Takumi, brewing managers (Ben was away on the day of the interview)

A wooden pallet beer case transformed by Aridagawa town workshop, SIL

“The taste of Aridagawa’s water is consistent, always. It’s incredible.” — Adam

The charm of the ingredients is meticulously bottled

Nomcraft’s Budo Sansho Beer goes down well on any occasion. Give it a try.

Craft beer production building bridges in the region

Adam, who runs the brewery alongside Kaneko-san, came to Japan to work on craft beerproduction in Japan together with his friend, Ben.

“Portland, where Ben is from, is a town where craft beer is ingrained in people’s lives as a culture. When I learned that Portland, such as it is, and Aridagawa had partnered in the community development field, I proposed a project, which led to us starting the brewery,” says Adam.

He continues, “We’re three people with different backgrounds and upbringings, but we’re always saying, ‘we want to be a bridge in the community.’ There are a lot of unique and interesting people in the craft beer world. When interesting people get together, it's inevitable that some kind of connections will be made there. I would love for people to know about the culture that where there’s craft beer, there’s always something interesting going on.”

Budo Sansho Beer is available for purchase from the café next door to Nomcraft, beer bars across Japan, in Tokyo at the Yurakucho Wakayama Kishhukan shop selling local specialties from Wakayama, and other retailers. Kaneko-san explains that in the future, they’re aiming to expand sales through various channels, including online.

“Naturally we’d like to increase the number of stores that carry the beer, but we’d like to get out there and be active at events to raise the profile of Nomcraft and Aridagawa first. When people come to town and meet each other, that becomes the driving force behind the creation of a new culture. We’d be stoked if Nomcraft and the craft beer that we make could be a catalyst for that.”


The name of the brewery, “Nomcraft” came about with the combination of “nomu” (to drink) and “craft.” Brewed beer is served in the adjacent café, GOLDEN RIVER, and can also be enjoyed at beer bars across Japan. Bottled beer is also sold from the brewery and through the online shop. Many seasonal, limited-time only beers are also available.

Click here to go to the Online Shop

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