Kiuchi Brewery has made sake in Japan since 1823. With a change in brewing laws they were able to launch their first microbrew beer in 1996, the highly lauded JCA, or Japanese Classic Ale. In the last ten years they have developed many new brews, including an incredible Red Rice Ale. The rice is milled and polished, the same as it is for sake, and fermentation requires both sake and ale yeasts, and yields a beer unique in taste and craft.
Hitachino Nest beers feature a few other qualities that impress: The bottles are well designed and feature a South Park style red and white owl and retro green lettering; and with annual production limited to around 2,000 cases a year, it makes enjoying one all the more satisfying.
Most of the distribution in the States is in restaurants, like Fatty Crab in Manhattan and Little Dishes in Brooklyn, as Grace over at Design Sponge wrote about yesterday.
Hitachino Nest is distributed in the U.S. by B. United International. In Manhattan, you can find their full product range at New Beer Distributors. Some of the brews are also available at some Whole Foods.