Okinawa World’s Best Kept Open Secret…Craft Beers
Perhaps by now, many people living in Okinawa have heard of the theme park “Okinawa World” in Nanjo City. It is home of the famous underground limestone cave, known as “Gyokusendo Cave”. What many people may not realize though, is that the park also produces craft beers. The Nanto Shuzo (Brewery), a division of the Nanto Company which governs and operates Gyokusendo Cave and the Okinawa World theme park has been in the business of making craft beers since 2001. Nanto Shuzu is perhaps best known for the their “Habu Sake”.
For a long time, Nanto Shuzo was known for was its original “Nihe de Beer”. The name is a pun which is derived from the word “Nife-de-biru” which means “Thank you” in the Okinawan dialect. The beer would eventually go on to win international beer awards and became well-known throughout Okinawa. But in 2016, they gave the beer a new name and produced many different variations of it. Now it goes by the name “Okinawa Sango Beer”. The word “Sango” meaning coral.
It is said that since ancient times Gyokusendo Cave was formed from a mixture of coral and limestone combined with natural spring water. Seizing on this special natural ingredient, Nanto Shuzo used this water, with its abundance of minerals, to produce its beers, thus changing the name to Sango Beer.
The spring water which flows through Gyokusendo Cave is also part of the same stream that flows through Kakinohana Water Spring in Nanjo City. Kakinohana is one of most famous water springs on Okinawa and was chosen as one of the Top 100 famous natural water springs in all of Japan.
Sango Beers standard selections include ALT, KÖLSCH, IPA, BLACK ALE, SAISON, as well as a brand-new beer, called DOUBLE UP. All their beers hold up very well for Okinawa’s sub-tropical climate; the taste is smooth and light. You can purchase bottles of Sango Beers at any one of the Okinawa AEON Shopping Centers/Stores. If you are in Okinawa World you can try Sango Beers on tap at their restaurant. They offer a 4-glass set on their menu where you can choose up to four different kinds of draft beers.
And speaking about draft beer, you can get your chance to gulp some draft Sango Beer soon, at the BeerFes Okinawa 2018 which will be held on July 27 – 29th at the Okinawa Times Building ground floor in Kumoji district of Naha City. You don’t want to miss it!
Mitsugu Tsuhako, one of the brewery staff members, says that foreigners are very passionate about craft beers, more so than Japanese people. He believes Sango Beers will more than satisfied their taste buds, and he is proud to produce Okinawan local craft beers for the world! He invites you to come and taste one today!
Nanto Brewery is located inside of Okinawa World: 1367 Maekawa, Nanjo City. http://www.nantosyuzo.com/okinawa-sango-beer/