In the Doghouse

Blood Weighs Heavy on Light Beer

boycott kirin ichiban over their involvement in the Rohingya genocideFor each sip of Kirin Ichiban’s beer that trickles down consumers’ throats, more money trickles into the pockets of Myanmar’s genocidal military, according to Amnesty International. In a series of reports over the past two years, the organization has flagged a partnership between the Japanese megabrewer Kirin and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL), a business conglomerate directly owned by Myanmar armed forces. In response, the International Campaign for the Rohingya is urging a boycott of the Japanese-based megabrewer as part of a continued effort to halt human rights abuses along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.

In 2017, Myanmar armed forces, in response to militant attacks on police outposts, began systematically destroying the villages of the primarily Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority. To date, at least 280 villages have been destroyed, and 6,700 people killed by violence, as well as over half the total population forced to flee to refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh. The remaining half million Rohingya in Myanmar remain at serious risk, according to the UN.

In the case of Kirin, this is not merely a case of money invested in the developing world being appropriated by bad actors. According to the Guardian, unlike companies in the United States (and most of the rest of the world), MEHL holdings are split into ownership by individual military battalions. Amnesty International has been able to track MEHL shareholder dividends down to specific units complicit in war crimes against the Rohingya.

Kirin has expressed concern and promised to start investigating, but to date there is no documented effort to decouple its brewing business from the military. Until it does, Alcohol Justice stands with Rohingya International in urging a boycott of Kirin products.

Products produced by Kirin include:

  • Kirin Ichiban (USA)
  • Four Roses (bourbon, USA)
  • San Miguel (Philippines)
  • Brooklyn Brewery (USA)
  • New Belgium Brewery (Fat Tire, USA)
  • Fourpure Brewing (UK)
  • Magic Rock (UK)
  • Tooheys (Australia)
  • Speight’s (Australia)
  • Panhead (New Zealand)
  • Emerson’s (New Zealand)

READ MORE about the Kirin boycott

READ MORE about how Big Alcohol profits off misery in the developing world