Chu-Hai has been evolving in a unique way as an alcoholic beverage in Japan
Chu-hai is an alcoholic beverage that evolved in a unique way in Japan.
It is made with shochu or vodka, which are colorless and flavorless, carbonated water, and fruit juice.The origin of chu-hai dates back to 1955.
At this time, highballs, which are made with whisky and soda, were really popular in Japan.
From that time, people spontaneously started drinking ‘Shochu-Highballs,’ which used shochu in place of whisky.
It is said that the name ‘Chu-Hai’ was born by combining the 'chu’ in 'shochu' with the 'high' in 'highball'. The name quickly caught on at bars and pubs all over Japan.
Why chu-hai is so popular in Izakaya (Japanese bars and pubs)
Chu-hai is a very popular alcoholic beverage at Izakayas among men and women of all ages.
The reasons are that the price is cheaper, and the drinks are healthier than other cocktails.
The ingredients of chu-hai are simple--just shochu, soda and fruit juice.
That’s why Izakayas can serve it at a cheaper price.
A few years ago, ‘low-carb' diets caught on big in Japan.
Beer is restricted in low carb diets.
Chu-hai has just a little sugar, so low-carb dieters can drink it.
There are various types of chu-hai, but typical ones are fresh lemon chu-hai (also called lemon sour in some izakayas) and fresh grapefruit chu-hai.
If you order raw lemon chu-hai or raw grapefruit chu-hai at an izakaya, you will get a half cut raw lemon or grapefruit, a small squeezer, and a big mug of chu-hai.
Squeeze the fruit yourself and poor the juice into the mug, stir with a muddler and drink.
People can enjoy the fresh taste and get vitamin C, so chu-hai is very popular.
History of canned chu-hai
It was 35years ago that canned chu-hai was born in Japan.
Takara Shuzo CO., LTD sensed the potential of chu-hai, which was booming at pubs and bars, earlier than other companies.
But at the time, they didn’t have a production line for filling cans with alcohol. If they were going to install one, a large amount of capital investment was required.
Therefore, the chu-hai project was temporarily postponed.
But the chu-hai boom increased more and more.
They thought it would be worth trying, so the project started again, and in 1984, Takara Chu-hai in-a-can was born.
Takara Shuzo committed himself to developing and personally producing the details of this product such as the taste, flavor and can design. Since then, it has been a huge hit and has become a long-selling product that is still popular among chu-hai lovers even now.
Starting with the sale of this product, other distilled liquor makers flocked into the canned chu-hai market. At this time, canned chu-hai had an alcohol content 7% to 8% and the flavor was mainly citrus, such as lemon and grapefruit.
After that, canned chu-hai has been evolving independently from the original style. Canned chu-hai has a mainly dry taste and a citrus flavor was standard, but in 1989, a sweet tasting canned chu-hai appeared which had flavors of peaches and apples.
After the alcohol content became 4% sales exploded, mainly among women who are not very strong drinkers and don’t like the dry taste of the original chu-hai.
After that, beer makers started to enter the canned chu-hai market in 1999.
The beer makers started selling products that were about 30% cheaper than the original canned chu-hais, maintained an alcohol content of 7%, and had a high degree of quality when it came to taste.The beer makers gained momentum and the consumption of canned chu-hai has increased nearly five times in five years.
Then in 2001, the Kirin Hyouketsu series was born, which made a big leap and took the lead in the canned chu-hai market. It’s not too much to say that Kirin Hyoketsu is a revolutionary product in the canned chu-hai market.
By making a groundbreaking choice, Kirin opened up new possibilities for canned chu-hai. The continuation of this story will be released soon. We look forward to sharing it with you!
Next time, we will tell you about tasting review of canned chu-hai
Next time we will tell you about the testing and reviews of different brands of canned chu-hai.
If you haven’t tried canned chu-hai, please check out the next article.
We would be happy if we could teach you the attractiveness of canned chu-hai.
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Must buy items!We recommend you these tasty canned chu-hai! tap the photos and check the product information!
|Sapporo CHU-HAI 99.99 Clear Grapefruit $5.90||Kirin Hyoketsu Strong Grape $6.20||Suntory Horoyoi White Grape $4.30|
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Canned Chu-hai Tasting (Vol.1. Different brand)