Efforts to Solve Social Issues

Our company considers sustainability as an important concept of value, and in order to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), we will continue with our efforts to solve various social issues, including regional and environmental issues, through our beer production and sales business.

1. Coexistence with local communities

We established the Headwaters Brewery in Kosuge Village, Yamanashi Prefecture in 2017 and moved our headquarters from Shibuya-ku, Tokyo to Kosuge Village in 2020, which has further strengthened our connection to the community.
Brewing has historically had very strong ties to the region, and we aim to contribute more to the local communities through our business.

Efforts already underway

Regional revitalization

In April 2020, we launched the “Yamanashi Support Project” with the aim to collaborate with local producers and revitalize the Yamanashi prefecture’s industries amidst the continuing difficult situation due to the new coronavirus. So far, we have brewed beer using plums, grapes, tomatoes, fresh hops, and other agricultural products produced in the prefecture, which continues to be a centerpiece of our efforts for regional revitalization.

The “Peace Haze”, a collaboration with Peach Senka Yamashita, which began as part of the “Yamanashi Support Project”, has been so well received every year that we decided to brew it as a regular seasonal product for spring and summer.

In addition to the “Yamanashi Support Project,” we are also actively challenging to collaborate with other business operators in Yamanashi Prefecture.

We have cooperated with businesses in Kosuge Village to make a beer with plums and blueberries, and make plum wine by distilling beer and soaking plums.
In October 2021, as the “Local Beer Fest Kofu” was cancelled due to the measures taken to prevent the spread of new corona, we collaborated with four craft beer makers in Yamanashi to produce “Yamanashi Collaboration Beer”. In collaboration with “Kikyo Shingen Mochi”, a Japanese confectionery representing Yamanashi Prefecture, we have also produced a beer with molasses and soybean flour.

We also offer our beer as a return gift to those who support Kosuge Village and the neighboring town of Otsuki City by paying their hometown tax.

Collaboration with local tourism operators

In order to revitalize Kosuge Village, we are promoting cooperation with tourism businesses in the village. We are also a member of the Kosuge Village Tourism Association, with which we are working together to create fans of Kosuge Village by offering our beer at roadside stations, inns and campgrounds in the village.

Our beer was used in a dinner pairing event held at an old private house hotel “NIPPONIA Kosuge Headwaters Village” and a beer garden held at the “Primitive Village Campsite”.

In addition, we give support to Kosuge Village events such as the Tama Genryu Festival, the Tama River Genryu Trail Run, and the Echigo-Tsumari Festival. We are engaging with a diverse range of people including villagers, fans, and tourists, and working on events with the Kosuge Village Tourism Association, such as mowing the grass at tourist facilities.

Local employment promotion

A total of 19 people (as of September 7, 2022) work at our head office in Kosuge Village with various working styles, including directors, full-time employees, part-time employees, and outsourced staff. The head office in Kosuge Village is home to 9 employees, and there are 22 residents including the family members of employees. In addition to providing a place for local people to work, we are contributing to the promotion of regional migration, as some people have moved to Yamanashi Prefecture to work for our company.

Future initiatives

Construction of new factory

We are planning to build a new factory in Kosuge Village to expand our business. We envision a factory that blends in with the local landscape to keep the local residents in mind and to equip it with facilities that have a lower environmental impact. Moreover, the new factory will create more jobs in the community and contribute to tourism in the village by having a beer bar attached.

2.Our efforts on environment

In order to create a sustainable society, environmental issues must be addressed first and foremost. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact during the process of beer brewing.

Efforts already underway

Brewing beer with low environmental impact

The beer brewing process requires a variety of energy sources, such as firing up boilers for boiling and maintaining temperatures. We have consistently worked to reduce our environmental impact since the Headwaters Brewery started operations in 2017.

As our beer undergoes secondary fermentation in the container, we are able to use less carbon dioxide than conventional beer production.

The hot water produced by cooling the wort is collected in the hot water tank and used for the next preparation or tank cleaning.

The malt waste from the brewing process is used to feed goats raised in Kosuge Village and sold as animal feed. In addition, fruits used as auxiliary materials in the beer production are composted at a waste treatment facility in Kosuge Village and sold at Kosuge Roadside Station.

Efforts to reduce food loss

We are also working on upcycling our production waste and unsalable beer by distilling and creating spirits. At the same time, we have established a system to recycle hot water from the distillation process and reuse it for brewing beer and cleaning equipment.

The beer brewed in collaboration with “Kikyo Shingen Mochi” is made from soybean flour that is inevitably produced at the Kikyo-ya factory, and the beer brewed in collaboration with Mercian Corporation is made from the upcycled cluster thinning grapes.

Future initiatives

Sustained improvement of environmental measures taken in the manufacturing process

We are considering the introduction of a nitrogen gas generator to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide used in the manufacturing process. As a further step, we are currently working on a study to recycle and reuse carbon dioxide emitted during fermentation.

We will continuously review our manufacturing processes and work with our partners to promote facilities with low environmental impact to achieve the aim of creating sustainable beer.

Passing on the water of Tama River headwaters and forests to the next generation

The factory of our company is located in Kosuge Village, Yamanashi Prefecture, which is a mountain village at the headwaters of the Tama River. The water in Kosuge Village is essential for brewing delicious beer, as well as the source of water for Tokyo.

By conserving the water of Tama River headwaters, we will continue to brew tasty beer and pass on the water sources of the region and urban area to the future generations.

In order to pass on the water of Tama River headwaters to the future generations, forests are needed to purify the water and prevent sediment runoff. At the same time, forests will absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Since carbon dioxide will always be emitted during fermentation of beer, we will work to offset carbon dioxide emissions through the carbon dioxide absorption function of the forests.

In addition to the activities to protect the forests, we will also promote efforts to utilize and commercialize the wood produced from the forests.

Through the partnership with forest professionals to conserve forests, we will not only protect water, but also make efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by absorbing more carbon dioxide than we emit.

3. Promotion of diversity and job satisfaction

Diversity and inclusion have been important concept of values for us since our founding. We believe that just as the diversity of beer has contributed to an increase in the value of beer culture, the diversity of team composition and working styles will lead to the development of our factory.

Meanwhile, we are making efforts to improve the working environment to promote job satisfaction. The craft beer industry as a whole is faced with the issue of improving the working conditions. To make our business sustainable, we are working to establish a personnel system that serves as a model for the industry, create a comfortable working environment, raise salary levels and improve other benefits from a medium- to long-term perspective.

Efforts already underway

Promoting employment of foreigners

We have two Americans and two Vietnamese working for our company. Although there are communication difficulties due to the differences in culture and way of thinking, we believe that by embracing diversity, we can build a strong team and make better beer.

Promotion of diverse work styles

At our head office, there have been cases where the working mother came to work with her children, and we have even had employees bring their pets to work, and we strive to create a work environment where employees can work with their infants and pets.

We have been promoting diversity in work styles. In addition to employees working at the head office, there are many employees who work remotely.

Promotion of job satisfaction

We are continuously making efforts to improve the job satisfaction of our employees by improving our personnel system, conducting employee satisfaction surveys, implementing an anti-harassment system, holding 1-on-1 meetings (one-on-one dialogue between supervisors and subordinates), and holding team-building workshops.

Future initiatives

We will further promote the creation of a diverse team with the respect of differences in age, gender, nationality, religion, disability, and other characteristics of each individual. At the same time, we will promote the establishment of a personnel system that provides more job satisfaction.

4. Efforts on health promotion and education

As a manufacturer of beverages, we are in the business of contributing to the health of our customers and employees. In addition, we also provide support for school education.

Efforts already underway

Manufacture of distilled spirits

Distilled spirits are produced by using production losses and unsalable beer. Distilled spirits do not contain sugar or purines, making them easy to drink for those who are concerned about health.

No smoking policy in the company

Smoking is prohibited in our company to promote the health of employees.

Efforts on education

We collaborate with classes at elementary and junior high schools in Kosuge Village, where our head office is located. At Kosuge Junior High School, our president gave a lecture as part of a career education program, and the students of Kosuge Elementary School took a tour of the brewery. Although beer itself is not familiar to the children, the students were made to think about what it is like to work through the brewing of beer.

We are also open to schools outside the village, giving factory tours to the students of the Gakugei University’s International Junior High School affiliate, and introducing the initiatives of our company online at an online social entrepreneurship class at Chuo University.

Future initiatives

Healthy relationship with beer and dissemination of its history and culture

Overdose of alcohol is detrimental to health, while proper drinking has been proven to contribute to a healthy life. The beer with high nutritional value has also historically been used for nutritional and medical purposes.
We will strive to promote a healthy relationship with beer and disseminate its history and culture.

Businesses other than alcoholic beverages

We have a responsibility to reduce the negative impact of alcohol consumption on social activities to achieve the SDGs. In order to realize “Goal 3: To seek to ensure health and well-being for all at every stage of life”, we will do everything possible, including launching non-alcoholic beverage businesses.

5. Efforts on peace

Humanitarian Assistance to the People of Ukraine

In support of the international NGO AAR Japan’s (Association Aid and Relief, Japan) emergency aid program for Ukraine, we are donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of our “Cheers to Support Ukraine Support” Set sold through our official Web Store to AAR Japan.

Many ordinary citizens were placed in a difficult position due to the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and many influential personalities and large corporations have already begun to address this issue.

Although we are a small organization with limited influence, we hope that the initiative of “Cheers to Support” will encourage as many people as possible to be concerned about this global crisis.

Diversity and inclusion have been important concept of values for us since our founding. We believe that just as the diversity of beer has contributed to an increase in the value of beer culture, recognizing diversity in gender and nationality in the way we work will nurture rich humanity, strengthen our teams, and lead to quality development.

What is happening in Ukraine today is by no means irrelevant to us, and we wanted to do what we can do while keeping to our values.

Our efforts to solve social issues are as they are laid out as of September 2022 and will be reviewed and updated in the future.