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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Japan, South Korea and Taiwan now get to experience No-Li’s signature Spokane brews

Spokane beer is going international, thanks to a push by No-Li Brewhouse. No-Li is now on store shelves in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. And Vietnam could be next in a growing market for the Spokane brewery.

The Pacific Rim is No-Li’s third-largest market today, behind Washington and Idaho. For overall production this year, No-Li is on track to sell over 20,000 barrels and could reach 24,000, owner John Bryant said.

Bryant said the brewery slowly grew its brand recognition in Asia with just over a decade of entering beer contests in Japan and winning medals. No-Li also did more recent virtual talks for Pacific Rim trade conferences. It all led to the first Japan distribution for its beers sold in stores.

“We’re shipping hundreds of cases a month that go to the Pacific Rim, and they’re redistributed to Taiwan, South Korea and Japan,” Bryant said. “It’s growing. It’s starting to add up.

“We’ve been winning medals in Japan for close to 11 years. With that, every year, the following for No-Li brands in Japan just kept growing until we had enough requests that we were able to line up with distribution and to start selling there a couple of years ago.”

That led to an expansion to South Korea and, recently, Taiwan.

Among No-Li’s exports, about 70% are going to Japan, nearly 30% to South Korea and the rest to Taiwan, which got a first shipment within the past 60 days.

“I’m actually working on Vietnam right now,” said Bryant, who added that about eight countries expressed interest after the trade conference presentations.

“We’re just selecting one by one as we incrementally add them.”

No-Li carries logo T-shirts and other products with a design representing Japan and its brand as worldwide, with English and Japanese for “Born and Raised” and “Beer.”

Its Japanese logo and branding won a gold medal for “Asian Export Brand Identity” and logo design in the 2023 National Craft Beer Marketing Awards. No-Li has similar South Korea and Taiwan merchandise.

More people internationally are linking Spokane to craft beer as No-Li distributes in the Pacific Rim, Bryant said. No-Li has noticed more tourists recently from those countries visiting Spokane and stopping at the brewery to buy beer and merchandise.

He said No-Li has heard from other parts of the world about possible distributions of its beer, including Australia and Europe, but that reach has proven to be more challenging because of freight and fuel expenses.

Bryant is hoping in about a year to lead a trade mission to Japan to include other regional brewers.

“It’s going to help tourism, help the name of the city and help other brewers, too.”