Mr.Copeland’s Spring Valley Brewery
When you go down the slope near the Bluff clinic on Yamate, you will find the building of an Elementary school and its large schoolyard down there. There was a brewery called Spring Valley Brewery. The green valley with abundant rainfall enjoyed abundant spring water. A Norway-born American Mr. William Copeland(1834-1902) started the brewery at the place where Kitagata Elementary School stood now. The beer made at the brewery was consumed by westerners living in the Yokohama foreign settlement and crews on ships docked at the harbor and shipped across the country. British marines stationed at the garrison on the hill of Yamate may have been his regulars. He was a good craftsman and brewed good quality beer. However, he had suffered from troubles with his business partners and clients. In 1885, the brewery was sold to the Japan Brewery Company, which launched sales of beer under the brand of “Kirin” in 1888. The Japan Brewery Company was taken over by Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. in 1907. The brewery in Kitagata operated until 1923 when the Great Kanto Earthquake hit and devastated the area. Later, it moved to Namamugi, Tsurumi Ward where the company’s Yokohama Factory is located now.
It is just a few minutes down the slope from Yamate. But tourists will not go out of their ways to visit the place. Now old stone monument stood near the schoolyard and a well they pumped up spring water on the school. Few would know there once stood the nation’s first brewery over 100 years ago.
Mr. Copeland is resting on the ground of the Foreign Cemetery on Yamate. I would like to thank Mr. Copeland for his dedication to the brewery, which end up with the great brand.