You've heard of a "whisky tenor" now meet a "beer soprano"...
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 94 17:41:14 PST
Subject: You've heard of a "whisky tenor" now meet a "beer soprano"...
[Renowned for their miniaturization techniques, the Japanese have a few
ideas about beer. How would you miniaturize beer? Well, hydrogen gas
is much "smaller" than carbon-dioxide ... and if you want to have a real
beer blast ... -psl]
TOKYO (AP) -- Here in the chic pubs of the Aoyama district, the latest
fad inspired by beer makers struggling through a sluggish economy is the
flammable suds of the new Hydrogen Beer. The latest craze among the
environmentally conscious crowd of twentysomethings, the "Suiso" beer
made by the Asaka Beer Corporation has been extremely popular at karaoke
sing-along bars and discotheques.
Hydrogen, like helium, is a gas lighter than air. Because hydrogen
molecules are lighter than air, sound waves are transmitted more rapidly;
individuals whose lungs are filled with the nontoxic gas can speak with
an uncharacteristically high voice.
Exploiting this quirk of physics, chic urbanites can now sing soprano
parts on karaoke sing-along machines after consuming a big gulp of Suiso
The drink comes in a transparent hexagonal bottle imported from the maker
of the new American drink "Zima," according to Hideki Saito, marketing
director of Asaka Beer Corp. While the bottles are imported from
Tennessee, the labels are made with a 100% biodegradable polymer. The
bottle caps are equipped with a safety valve to prevent excess build-up
of pressure in high temperatures.
The flammable nature of hydrogen has also become another selling point,
even though Asaka has not acknowledged that this was a deliberate
marketing ploy. It has inspired a new fashion of blowing flames from
one's mouth using a cigarette as an ignition source. Many new karaoke
videos feature singers shooting blue flames in slow motion, while flame
contests took place in pubs everywhere in Tokyo on New Year's eve.
So far, Asaka beer has insisted that the quantities of hydrogen used in
the drinks is too low to create potential for bodily harm. In the
factory, the carbon dioxide that is dissolved in the beer is partially
extracted and replaced with hydrogen gas. Mr. Saito maintained that the
remaining carbon dioxide mixed with hydrogen prevents the rate of
combustion from increasing dramatically. Carbon dioxide is a
nonflammable gas that is naturally contained in the exhaled breath of
However, the company has hesitated from marketing the product in the US
due to legal complications.
Each bottle of Suiso beer sells for approximately 1,200 yen, or eleven US
dollars. The bottles are packed in special crates lined with concrete to
prevent chain explosions in the event of a fire.
© 1994 Peter Langston