Orion Breweries

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Orion Breweries, Ltd.
Native name
Private KK
Founded(May 18, 1957; 61 years ago (1957-05-18)) Nago, Okinawa
Urasoe, Okinawa 901-2551
Area served
parts of Asia
the US
Key people
Yoshio Kadekaru
Number of employees
300 (as of December 31, 2014)
WebsiteOfficial website (in Japanese)
Footnotes / references
Orion Draft Beer

Orion Breweries, Ltd. (オリオンビール株式会社, Orion Bīru Kabushiki Gaisha) is the 5th largest beer brewery in Japan, headquartered in Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture.[1] The company commands approximately 1% of the Japanese beer market. However, it controls 60% of the beer market on Okinawa.[4]

Orion uses water that “comes from springs” out of the mountain “just behind the brewery”.[3] Like many breweries, Orion likes to give some credit for the quality of its beer to the source of its water. Orion also has its own ingredients and techniques.

Founded in 1957 in Nago, Okinawa during the American occupation of Okinawa, Orion began making beer in 1959. Orion struggled to compete with the other major Japanese breweries, but after changing from a German-style beer to an American-style beer, it gained the top share in the Okinawan market. Orion became the most widely consumed beer in Okinawa, and “the company’s popularity took off as the brew became a more American style beer”,[5] but until 2002, it had a market that was limited to mostly Okinawa. Since 2002, Orion has worked together with Asahi Breweries to manufacture Asahi beers in Okinawa, in return for Asahi's assistance in selling Orion beer outside of Okinawa.[6]

Orion made an agreement with Asahi Breweries to increase its market, and it is now distributed much more widely in Japan but had yet to capture a lot of attention in international market. “While Orion Breweries maintains its independence in Okinawa, it is now distributed outside of Okinawa through the Asahi company”.[6]

Orion Beer has been featured in professional wrestling, as Okinawan wrestler Menso-re Oyaji regularly carries an Orion Beer can with him to the ring during his matches.[7]

Akihito Yagi, 8th Dan in Meibukan Goju Ryu Karate-do, which his late grandfather (Meitoku Yagi) created, and who is the current chairman of the International Meibukan Goju Ryu Karate Association (IMGKA), is a spokesman for Orion beer.


  1. ^ a b "Company Profile" (in Japanese). Orion Breweries. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  2. ^ "Company Overview". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  3. ^ a b By, Charles (July 22, 2010). "Orion beer quenches Okinawa thirst". Weekly Japan Update. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  4. ^ Negishi, Mayumi (September 14, 2002). "Okinawans look to tackle problems on own terms". The Japan Times. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Forte, Sarah (November 17, 2012). "Orion Beer Factory". Okinawa Hai. Overseas Yes!. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Frisch, Eleanor (August 20, 2015). "Japanese Beer: A Short History and Guide". FoodServiceWarehouse.com. FoodServiceWarehouse.com, LLC. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  7. ^ Gottlieb, Matthew (September 7, 2010). "Orion: The National Beer of Okinawa". The Beer Connoisseur Online. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2011.

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