“I’ve got an idea… how about we mix our surplus milk with beer and sell it.” The conversation may not have gone exactly like that, but whatever was said, the head honchos at Abashari Beer factory liked what they heard. The idea came from Chitoshi Nakahara, the son of a manager of a liquor store in Nakashibetsu, a dairy farming region in Western Hokkaido. He came up with the idea while trying to figure out a way to utilise surplus milk that was being thrown out by local dairies. One third of Bilk is milk, and it’s said the flavour of the milk ‘faintly drifts into the beer giving it a mellow taste and a sweet smell’. Milk consumption has been declining in Japan, and Hokkaido disposed of nearly 900 tonnes of milk in one month recently due to over-production, according to the Japan Dairy Association.