After nearly 30 years of selling its beer in the historic Pike Place Market, Pike Brewing is opening a new location outside the Emerald City — way outside. In Nagoya, Japan.
In September, the brewery will open a brand new bar and restaurant in Nagoya as part of a new three-story plaza filled with shops and restaurants inspired by Seattle businesses in the city’s glitzy Chubu Centrair International Airport.
Nagoya, home to international car manufacturer Toyota, is Japan’s leading audio and aviation center. And many of the components for Boeing planes come from the area. To celebrate this relationship, Boeing donated a brand new Dreamliner plane to Centrair, which will serve as the centerpiece for the new plaza home to businesses like Beechers, Starbucks, Ethan Stowell Restaurants and Pike Brewing.
Ten years ago, Japanese officials relaxed laws that had prohibited the sale of beer from foreign and domestic microbreweries in their country. Ever since those rule changes, Japanese palates have developed a new taste for craft brew. And Pike has been right in the middle of it, selling its product in Japan while working with Zato Trading Co., a distribution company that also owns and operates 25 restaurants. And its with Zato Trading that Pike partnered to create its new Japanese outpost, which is based on its original Pub built in 1989. “We’re very proud of the fact that our brand is so well respected and that we’ve been invited to participate,” says Charles Finkel, Pike co-owner and founder. “We think it will be great.”
Pike’s Nagoya restaurant and bar will feature the exact same menu and dishes says Finkel, and the brewery has regionally branded its signature IPA and Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale for Japanese consumers. “Japan is a country obsessed with food,” the beer pioneer adds. “And there’s now a big interest in craft beer. For years, the big companies had a monopoly on production but that’s not the case anymore.”
Finkel says the officials approached Pike about the partnership about two years ago, and while the brewery completed its new fine-dining Seattle restaurant, Tankard and Tun, on the third story of Pike Place Market, the team was also working with their partners in Nagoya to create their first international operation, which is slated to open September 8.
Though Finkel says the Nagoya storefront is the only operation Pike has its eye on abroad, that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be more growth in the future. “We’re an enthusiastic, entrepreneurial company,” he says. “We’re happy with what we’ve got but every company likes to grow.”