The word ビール (beer) is commonly used. According to the dictionary, there is the Japanese word 麦酒 (ばくしゅ), which means the same. But I have never heard it. Is it used these days or not anymore?

  • I believe ビール came from Dutch bier. – Leebo Sep 25 '19 at 7:41
  • @Leebo do you mean it came to Japanese from Dutch directly, not via English? – Enguroo Sep 25 '19 at 7:53
  • 4
    Yes, it entered Japanese from Dutch directly. Dutch contributed many words thanks to the special relationship they had while Japan was closed to other countries. Thanks to the similarities of Dutch and English, sometimes they also closely resemble English words. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Leebo Sep 25 '19 at 7:59
  • @Leebo thank you very much! – Enguroo Sep 25 '19 at 9:02

麦酒 is no longer used, although it remains in some company names (example).

青空文庫全文検索 provides the frequency data based on the birth year of authors. According to this and this, 麦酒 was a less common alternative for ビール already before WWII. 麦酒 dropped out of use somewhere after WWII (I think it's very soon after WWII; my grandfather in his nineties uses ビール).


It might not be common that a large manufacturer like Asahi making beer whose name contain 麦酒{ばくしゅ}. I think there are some microbrewery in Japan making craft beer whose name contain "麦{ばく}酒{しゅ} or the company name contains 麦酒{ばくしゅ} such as the company 「日本語: 北海道麦酒醸造株式会社, 英語: "HokkaidoBrewing"」. I think you often can buy 「小樽麦酒{おたるばくしゅ}」by the company at supermarket or some convenience store and it seems it's exported to oversea, at least US. I guess it's fruity. It's a nice ale.

There is a list of brewery and pub :ブルワリーリスト at the site called "Beer Cruise". It contains「京都{きょうと}麦酒{ばくしゅ}」 by 黄桜{きざくら} : Kizakura Co.,Ltd], a large 日本酒{にほんしゅ} manufacturer is also making the craft beer. So, probably not only a beer manufacturer, but also a 日本酒{にほんしゅ} manufacturer privately making 麦酒{ばくしゅ}, a craft beer, and is serving at their "brewery and pub".

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