U.S. Production of Kirin Ichiban to Move from Anheuser-Busch to New Belgium Brewing

We’re now all too familiar with hearing that imported beers are shifting to stateside production. And while Anheuser-Busch has been brewing all domestically-sold Kirin beers since 1996, that responsibility is about to change hands.

On Monday, New Belgium Brewing announced that it will take over the domestic production of Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light at the end of this year, lining up with the end of Kirin’s contract brewing deal with AB InBev. According to a press release, the decision comes from a logistical maneuver to relocate Kirin’s U.S. production to its subsidiary’s facilities as Kirin’s Australian subsidiary, Lion, acquired New Belgium Brewing in 2019.

“We appreciate Anheuser-Busch’s many years of strong business partnership supporting Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light in the U.S.,” said general manager of Kirin’s overseas business department Masakazu Ashida in the release. “We are grateful for all parties’ collaboration and commitment to ensuring continued success of our brands during this time of transition.”

New Belgium is expected to take the reins of all production, marketing, and sales of Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light starting in January 2025. The brewery currently owns facilities in Fort Collins, Colo. and Asheville, N.C.

“I want to thank Kirin for entrusting New Belgium as stewards of Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light across the United States,” New Belgium CEO Shaun Belongie said in the release. “We’re excited to grow our production portfolio and we’re confident in our capacity to expand upon the success of these powerful brands.”


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