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Beer for Kids?
Yes, you read that right. Kids Beer. It exists, but it's not quite what you think.
Kid's beer is the brainchild of a Mr. Yuichi Asaba who came up with the idea of a kids beer for his Tokyo restaurant. He created the non alcoholic beer like soft drink prior to first shipping it out in 2003.
The beverage formula is based around Gaurana soda. However Mr. Asada created his own special blend by experimenting with other ingrediants. His end product is a slightly less sweet Gaurana soda that has the same coloring as a light beer and even a frothy head like the real thing.
Even the labels and bottles for the beer look like real. They have been designed to mimic classic Japanese beer brands.
Why do kids need their own beer? Well according to Mr. Asada, kids always copy adults. They want to pretend to be grown up and drinking mommy and daddy's beer. But obviously beer is not something child should ever get a chance to drink. So why not develop a beer just for them?
Especially at parties and important gatherings, kids want a chance to partake in the festivities. In Japan doing toasting, known as "kampai" is really important at such gatherings. Kids then get a chance to join in and feel apart of whatever is happening.
Asada also claims that it's perfect for those who don't drink. In an article written in the Japan times he states "kids and others can raise a glass with this, even if they cannot drink any liquor." So kids beer may not be just for kids but adults too who can't or don't wish to drink.
Asada is not the only one who thinks kids beer is a good idea. The company that began bottling kids beer is now making shipments of more than 75,000 bottles each month and has been increasing it's shipments every month.
It's now becoming incredibly popular at restaurants and department stores through out Japan.
What do you think about kids beer?
Is it ok for children? We don't know for sure yet. But children who see their parents drinking and can then emulate them might have a much stronger tendency to turn to alcohol. Japan however is very lenient when it comes to alcohol compared to the US and so in Japan it may not be considered such a social taboo. Some might argue that underage drinking by teenagers may rise, but Japan does not have any huge problems with teenage drinking like the US and other countries do, despite the fact that alcohol can be easily obtained.
Doubtless, if something like this was created in the US there would be an enormous uproar about beer-like beverages being marketed to youngsters. Although root beer does come to mind.
I have to admit that at first I was slightly appalled when I fist saw this on sale, but after I thought about it seems like kids beer won't do any more harm than witnessing beer drinking. It's all up to the parents as it always is in these situations.
What do you think?
Please leave a comment below and check out some of my other hubs about life in Japan.