Craft Beer Connection:

Pennsylvania, Japan, And The Business of Beer


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Over the past decade, craft brewers in the US have exploded onto the beer market. Japan’s craft boom is just starting, but both have become big business. This event will explore the impact and opportunities created by this exciting industry. Grab a drink and network virtually with us after the panel discussion! A list of local distributors where international craft beers are sold can be found here.

The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia in partnership with the Japan America Society of Pennsylvania will present this program in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Moderator: Jason Young, Manager, KPMG & Business Program Steering Committee Member.

7:00 PM Program opens, Introductions

7:10 PM Panel Discussion

7:45 PM Panel Q&A

8:05 PM 5 Minute Break

8:10 PM Networking/Breakout rooms

8:30 PM Program Close

The Panelists:

Eli Raffeld
Founder, Highroad Spirits; Importer, COEDO

COEDO BREWERY – Saitama, Japan

COEDO is pronounced (Co-A-Doh), meaning Little Tokyo, is the premier craft brewery in Japan, founded in 1996. COEDO is the nickname for Kawagoe, a city in Saitama Prefecture Japan, located in the Greater Tokyo Area. Since before modern Tokyo, Kawagoe has been influencing Japanese culture through its fashion, art, and agriculture.

COEDO’s founders pioneered farm-to-table produce distribution in Tokyo. Their passion for sustainable farming, sourcing, and distribution is at the heart of the modern Coedo Brewery. COEDO’s award-winning premium craft beers have been honored all over the world for their balance, flavor, and craftsmanship. COEDO’s beers pair beautifully with all foods and deliver an exciting and refreshing experience, authentic to Japan.



One of the most frequent questions we receive is “where is Hokkaido?” At first glance, it’s a pretty simple question. Hokkaido is the second-largest and northernmost island of Japan, it’s the largest prefecture. Hokkaido is known for beautiful landscapes, mesmerizing snowfall, and (of course) its delicious assortment of freshly grown fruit. It’s where, in 1999, Takashi-san discovered that the “ugly” fruits from these harvests were being thrown away, despite maintaining their mouthwatering flavor. Upon this revelation, a concept was born: look beyond what meets the eye. This ideal would lead Takashi-san to become one of Japan’s great fruit beer pioneers.

While our brewmaster was scouting potential breweries, he made quite the fateful encounter. As Takashi-san stood behind a small fishing port, he was approached by a dark and brooding cat with piercing yellow eyes. Every time that Takashi-san returned, this outcast re-appeared as well. As time passed, something strange began to happen: with each visit, the cat came closer and closer, slowly revealing his true friendly nature. What first appeared as a solemn, ominous creature eventually became a symbol of Takashi-san’s passion: look beyond what meets the eye. Takashi-san soon took this cat as a “business partner” and made him the brewery’s official icon.

On second thought, “where is Hokkaido?” is a bit more complex. Hokkaido is where a brewmaster can take disregarded harvests and craft them into delectably refreshing, wonderfully flavorful fruit beers. It’s a place where a mysterious cat from a local fishing port can eventually become a lifelong business partner. It’s where a cool, crisp port breeze can lift the weight of the world off your shoulders and invite you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Hokkaido is where you can look past what meets the eye and see the amazing potential in everything that nature has to offer. Hokkaido is fresh. Authentic. Unforgettable.


Treasurer, District Pittsburgh MBAA
Brewer, Mindful Brewing Company

Mindful Brewing utilizes a state of the art 10 bbl 2-vessel steam-driven system. Our system is big enough to get you the beer you love while being small enough to try some really interesting one-off beer seasonal brews. At Mindful Brewing we take commitment seriously. Our commitment to our beers is that we will always use local ingredients whenever possible and that we will strive to make every batch of beer live up to not only your standards but ours as well. We also have a commitment to our industry to stay independent and keep craft beer the way it should be.

For more information about the JASGP’S US-Japan Business & Public Policy Program, subscribe to our Business Newsletter at the bottom of this page:


Gender Pay Equity in a Post-COVID World:  A Comparative Look

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October 15, 2020
Held on Zoom

As part of the US-Japan Business & Public Policy Program, this 90-minute participatory discussion will examine how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the gender pay gap.

While women overall in the U.S. earn about 80 cents for each dollar paid to men, the disparity in pay among some female minority groups is worse than among all women, according to the National Women’s Law Center’s analysis of 2018 Census Bureau data. Internationally, the gap is even wider in some countries. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people work around the globe. Is the now widely accepted remote working arrangement an equalizer for women’s career advancement, or does it exacerbate the inequity?

Join us for an interactive roundtable discussion—led by Nan Sato, Special Counsel with Fisher Phillips—about pay equity to help bring greater understanding to the situation for women of color. Understanding and empathy will help effect change.

For more information about the JASGP’S US-Japan Business & Public Policy Program, subscribe to our Business Newsletter at the bottom of this page:



July 2020 Japan Philadelphia Coffee & Cocktails Happy Hour


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Thursday, July 30, 2020, 7:00 pm EST
Friday July 31, 2020 8:00 am JST
Hosted on Zoom

Join us Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 7pm EST (8am JST) for a virtual business conversation with Rob Buscher, Board Chair of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival and adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Presented by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia as part of our US-Japan Business & Public Policy series, in partnership with Venture Café Tokyo, the discussion will focus on anti-Asian bias incidents that have happened during the pandemic with a focus on incidents in business, which range from offensive attitudes and language to name calling and business barriers and can escalate to physical confrontation.

Buscher will also provide insights as to what is happening nationally and in our region as well as discuss the role of allies in speaking out against racism and prejudice.

Rob Buscher, Board Chair of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, has worked in non-profit arts organizations for over a decade. As a person of biracial Japanese American heritage who is deeply involved in his community, Rob also has an expertise in cultural sensitivity training, community organizing, and advocacy issues related to the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Buscher currently lectures at University of Pennsylvania. He serves as President of the Philadelphia Chapter of civil rights group Japanese American Citizens League and chairs the editorial board of Pacific Citizen, the organization’s national newspaper.


June 2020 Japan Philadelphia Coffee & Cocktails Happy Hour

Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 7pm EST (Friday, June 26, 8am JST)

See the video from this session here:

Join us Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 7pm EST (8am JST) for a virtual business conversation with Ryotaro Tashiro, Regional Economic Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Presented by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with Venture Café Philadelphia. Part of JASGP’s ongoing Coffee & Cocktails series, Tashiro will discuss current economic developments in light of recent uncertainty, the business outlook for the region, and what this might mean for U.S. businesses that have relationships with Japan as well as Japanese businesses that operate in the U.S.

Tashiro is responsible for conducting research on current regional economic issues in the Federal Reserve’s Third District and informing external audiences on national and regional economic conditions, monetary policy, and the role of the Federal Reserve in the economy. Prior to joining the Bank in June 2016, Tashiro was a business analyst for Bloomberg, where he was responsible for conducting research on issues related to equity data quality.

Coffee & Cocktails is an online conversation series that was inaugurated in May and is designed to create people-to-people connections in support of business and culture in Japan and Philadelphia. These events are free and open to all.

The series is held on Zoom on the last Thursday each month. Participants from Japan and the U.S. are welcome, and questions may be asked in either Japanese or English. We ask participants to consider making a donation to the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia to help us develop and provide quality programming like this in the future.

Contact Lois Giovacchini, Corporate Relations Manager, with questions, comments, and suggestions for future events at (267) 346-5177 or

Register Now

June 2020 Japan Philadelphia Coffee & Cocktails

Friday, May 1, 2020, 7:00 pm EST
Saturday May 2, 2020 8:00 am JST
Free ($7 Suggested Donation)

Join the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia for the Japan-Philadelphia Coffee & Cocktails Happy Hour. Mix up your favorite sake cocktail (or coffee for those joining us during breakfast time in Japan) while we meet virtually to discuss how business gets done from home in Philadelphia and Japan.

The pre-selected panelists will discuss:

  • Making the most of remote work
  • The effects of government policies on business
  • Staying physically active
  • Staying together during social distancing
  • Go-to make-at-home drinks
  • Favorite binge-worthy books and TV

The presentation will be in English with an opportunity for questions towards the end. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for announcements about the panelists.

Please consider a $7 donation (the price of one drink at a bar), so that we can continue to host these programs.

Registrants will receive a confirmation email with Zoom meeting details.

Register Now

JASGP Webinar: Keeping your Business Going in the Time of COVID-19

Watch the full webinar from Fisher Philips on their GotoWebinar page.

The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia hosted a webinar on Friday, April 3 for the information you need right now for your business. Our Business Committee member, Nan Sato, Special Counsel with Fisher Phillips, helped navigate compliance with federal, state, and local legislation. Nan was joined by Bill Wright, chair of the firm’s International Practice Group, who will discuss issues relating to expats and an international workforce.

The session was packed with practical answers to questions, such as:

  • Eligibility and conditions of the loans under the new CARES Act?
  • How can employers take advantage of the emergency sick leave and emergency FMLA provisions of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act?
  • What kind of furlough and termination strategies should an employer adopt?
  • Does our company qualify as an essential business so we can continue to operate during a shutdown?
  • How to balance workplace safety measures to prevent infections and the protection of employee privacy?
  • What to do with our global workforce and expats?
  • Join us on this Friday at 11am for this informative and free webinar. This event is sponsored by the U.S. Business & Public Policy Committee of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, in partnership with Fisher Phillips.

Watch the full webinar here.

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