Providing safe products and facilities

Food Safety

The Sapporo Group Quality Assurance System (formulated on November 30, 2011; revised on January 1, 2016)

At the Sapporo Group, we have formulated the “Sapporo Group Quality Assurance System.” It clearly describes the comprehensive food safety culture to be inherited by the Group, and is the foundation on which actions and approaches to quality are built on within each Sapporo Group company. In recent years, food safety has been demanded above all else. The Quality Assurance System was established with the goal of sharing the Sapporo Group perspective on food safety with domestic and overseas business companies and, in anticipation of accelerating global development, with overseas partners as well.

Committing to safe and high-quality products and services

The Sapporo Group carries out thorough compliance, and ensures that it adheres to the requirements of relevant laws and regulations. As a corporate group that handles food, we also guarantee the food safety of our products and services in all of our businesses worldwide.
As a result, we are able to provide our customers with safe and high-quality products and services in a stable and continuous manner.
In addition, in order to provide quality assurance that our customers can trust, it is vital that we prepare preemptively for quality-related issues. If, for any reason, quality-related issues should arise, it is essential that we implement countermeasures and ensure the issues do not reoccur; it is also essential that the countermeasures we implement are applied to other businesses within the Group as appropriate.
In order to fulfill the responsibilities outlined above, Sapporo Group employees will at all times work hard to improve the quality of their products, and continually enhance Group management systems for food quality and food safety.

The Sapporo Group Quality and Food Safety Philosophy

In the Code of Corporate Conduct, the Sapporo Group identifies “prioritizing safety and the pursuit of product and service quality” as a key concern, and seeks to ensure that “prevention-type quality assurance” is a principle shared throughout the Group. In this way, we intend to become a corporation that is trusted by our customers.
These initiatives entail continually improving quality and food safety assurance systems, as well as enhancing the human resources that enable the provision of safe products and services with high added-value. Through these activities, the Sapporo Group intends to provide its customers with satisfactory products and services.

The Sapporo Group Quality Action Guidelines

  1. We will base our own sense of achievement on the satisfaction and trust of our customers.
  2. We will respond in a swift and accurate manner to societies and their laws and regulations.
  3. We will listen carefully to the voices of our customers and, while maintaining objectivity, carry out activities that are visible to our customers.
  4. We will keep abreast of the latest trends and changes regarding quality and food safety, identify what issues we face, and implement reforms to resolve them.
  5. We will ensure that Group philosophies and action guidelines are understood by all parties, and improve our teamwork and sense of unity.

The Sapporo Group Food Safety Program

We intend to identify any issues regarding food safety or quality that might result in problems for Sapporo Group products or services, and establish a Food Safety Program that manages these issues. By using a management system based on global standards and by implementing PDCA cycles, we intend to ensure that the Food Safety Program operates appropriately.

Quality Assurance System

The Sapporo Group has set up a Group Quality Assurance Department as an organization to facilitate permeation of a “prevention-type quality assurance” system within and outside of the Group. The Group Quality Assurance Department also monitors whether each operating company has been steadily implementing daily quality assurance activities. Regular meetings with managers of Quality Assurance Departments from each company in the Sapporo Group are held to share information on quality risks and to ensure measures are taken for risk reduction.
Furthermore, the Group Quality Assurance Department and each operating company instructs and monitors procurement clients, manufacturing contractors and domestic/overseas offices under their jurisdiction to improve quality throughout the entire food chain from product planning, development, procurement and manufacturing, to storage and distribution.

Quality Assurance System Quality Assurance System

Establishment of Global Quality Assurance Systems

Operations for permeation of the “Food Safety Program,” the basics of quality assurance activities, are being made in Group companies overseas as well. Besides having each overseas company comply with local laws and regulations, a quality assurance system based on the “Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)* management system benchmark specification” has been constructed according to the products handled and service features of each company.

*GFSI is an organization established in 2000 by the consumer goods-related organization Consumer Goods Forum, with the participation of 70 countries and 650 companies from all over the world. The organization’s primary goal is to reduce food safety risks throughout food supply chains all over the world. As a pillar of this activity, the GFSI certifies existing food safety monitoring standards that satisfy its criteria.

Quality Risk Management

To brace itself for serious quality problems, the Sapporo Group has constructed a Risk Management System which offers swift information sharing of quality risks between operating companies to prevent any issues from happening. Furthermore, regular drills on risk correspondence are conducted at each operating company to reinforce abilities to correspond to risk issues.

Quality Assurance System for Radioactive Substances

Quality assurance systems in each Group company were being implemented by incorporating germanium semiconductor detectors in the Frontier Laboratories of Value Creation, even before the new standards for radioactive substances in food were established in April 2012.

Quality Control of Raw Materials

Sapporo Breweries

Traceability is ensured through the “Collaborative Contract Farming System” for malt (barley) and hops procured. For wine, all products including and superior to the premium “Grande Polaire” series feature the profile photo and name of the in-house brewing technician or grape farmer, offering customers peace of mind and trust as “wine products with visible producers and sentiments.”

Sapporo Lion

A screengrab of the “Net-SAM” system
A screengrab of the “Net-SAM” system

Sapporo Lion has developed its unique in-house ordering system “Net-SAM” for the procurement of reliable food ingredients. The system was fully installed throughout the country from February 2014. As a fundamental rule, each restaurant uses food ingredients that are registered in this system.
We believe that this commitment toward reinforcing information management improves traceability, which results in safer and more reliable food ingredients being provided. The system also features a recipe system, allowing searches for allergens as well.

POKKA SAPPORO Food & Beverage

POKKA SAPPORO Food & Beverage implements overall quality assurance through its product design, raw ingredients, manufacturing and distribution. The integrated product/raw material information database “Mercrius” has been incorporated to unify product and raw ingredient information, for swift searches of production areas of raw materials used in products, and also to provide information such as that for additives.
Additionally, design reviews* are also implemented for product design, realizing safer product design by evaluating risks from the planning stage.

*Design review: A method that attains one goal before going on to the next step, with evaluation from related divisions (checkpoints for quality) for each process in product creation, such as designing/reviewing/planning, selection of raw materials, selection of factories, prototype manufacturing and mass production.

Group Company Activities

Sapporo Breweries initiatives

Aiming for quality in development, design and manufacturing

Each department related to product development and design has acquired ISO9001 certification for international standards of quality management systems. Furthermore, supporting departments, such as the Quality Assurance Department at the head office, ascertain legal compliance on factors such as product display to support quality assurance in design and development departments. Additionally, eight core manufacturing factories*1 have acquired and implemented the international standard for food safety management systems FSSC22000*2, as part of unceasing efforts to further improve product safety.

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* Eight major factories: Hokkaido Brewery, Sendai Brewery, Nasu Brewery, Gunma Plant (Ojima), Chiba Brewery, Shizuoka Brewery, Kyushu-Hita Brewery, Okayama winery

** FSSC22000: The acronym for Food Safety System Certification 22000, which is a food safety management system standard targeting food manufacturing organizations. This certification is approved as one food safety certification scheme under the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). It also incorporates HACCP principles.

Factories and headquarters come together for quality assurance

Sapporo Breweries conduct regular meetings at Headquarters for departments related to quality assurance, product planning, research and development for content and packaging, and manufacturing management. In these meetings, various information such as quality issue customer feedback and other consumer opinions are swiftly and comprehensively analyzed. The information extracted from this is reflected in the product development and factory manufacturing processes.
At the same time, factory managers organize regular “quality meetings” at their factories, in which discussions are made from a customer perspective toward issues in quality improvement, along with the “mutual factory diagnosis” held across technological departments.
Diagnosis is conducted by selected staff from various departments. This diagnosis staff identifies issues on-location at other factories and conducts active discussions with factory members. Enhancement of technological levels that support the foundation of “deliciousness” and “quality assurance,” human resource training, and also continued invigoration of organizations can also be anticipated from these initiatives.

Quality management for barrel draft products

Sapporo Breweries Draft Beer Quality Centers and Maintenance Centers are located throughout Japan, making efforts toward quality management and awareness-raising on barrel products for restaurant clients who use Sapporo barrel products. Along with our restaurant clients, the Centers strive for “safe and secure” barrel products to “provide impressive barrel product quality” through technological guidance and maintenance of draft beer servers, equipment and container-related factors.

Maintenance of draft beer servers

The original barrel draft beer quality management system for Sapporo Breweries, the “SAPPORO SEPARE System” incorporates patented technology and Sapporo know-how to separate barrel draft beer server coolers from beer circuits (tubes in which beer flows, such as beer hoses), which were conventionally inseparable, for better maintainability. The beer circuits are changed regularly and thoroughly cleaned at special maintenance centers. The SEPARE Center’s beer circuit washing machines are responsible for cleaning approximately 80 percent of beer circuits from all over Japan. Developed in-house, these machines control washing temperatures, times, rinsing, and drying in a fully automated manner. It operates from early morning to clean 700 to 800 circuits every day. Microorganisms remaining on the washed beer circuits are close to “zero,” making it a “zero reset” for the circuits.

The SEPARE server maintenance center and rows of automatic washing machines

The SEPARE server maintenance center and rows of automatic washing machines

Beer circuits that have been used for a certain period of time are collected and washed within the company’s special facilities. The beer circuits themselves are washed at Sapporo’s original automated washing machine, and fine parts are disassembled before going under ultrasonic cleaning for a thorough wash, to become good as new.

The evolving “SAPPORO SEPARE System”
--Confirmation of waste-suppressing effects at the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) --


In 2011, the “SAPPORO SEPARE System” evolved into the “New SEPARE System” by incorporating industry-first components. This attained a “technological revolution” that reduces the amount of impurities within the beer circuits as much as possible. Components include beer hoses manufactured from extremely water-resistant material for more effective cleaning, beer hose joints to reduce the pooling of beer as much as possible, and metal heads. The beer circuits are kept clean longer, resulting in improvement in the quality of draft beer provided. Furthermore, the construction of separate beer lines and cooler components which could be disassembled and replaced, realized longer use life for the items as well. It has also been verified through the LCA method that this system has decreased the impact on the environment, due to the suppression of waste materials when compared to conventional servers. Thanks to this feat, the system has been awarded the 8th Eco-products Award for Excellence.

Quality assurance for contract-manufactured products and imported products

In order to maintain and enhance the quality of products whose manufacture is outsourced, Sapporo Breweries technicians conduct inspections at intervals prescribed by designated evaluation criteria. With regard to imported wines, the Wine & Spirits Department and related departments assure quality by analyzing values and checking manufacturing methods for each imported lot, and only then conducting acceptance inspections. Visitations to client wineries are also conducted when necessary, as part of efforts to strengthen quality management systems.

Logistics quality improvement

Sapporo Breweries was one of the first companies in the industry to improve the quality of its logistics operations (e.g., light shielding and vibration prevention of products during transportation).
Based on the idea that "safety takes precedence over everything else," all employees at Sapporo Group Logistics, which is responsible for the logistics operations of Sapporo Breweries, have established a safety philosophy based on the idea of "safety" and "improving logistics quality." As a manufacturer logistics company, safety is the first step to improve logistics quality, and we have expressed our determination on the actions we should take and awareness we should have to realize this. Based on this safety philosophy, in order to improve quality in transportation, warehouse operations, and logistics office operations, we hold "Safety CS Rally" twice a year, in spring and fall, to achieve "zero accidents" and "zero complaints." These meetings are held not only for employees but also for employees of logistics partners and subcontractors, and the purpose of these activities is to raise awareness of the significance of safety and CS and to further improve the quality of logistics. In addition, each branch office holds an annual forklift driving skills competition to improve the skills and related knowledge of each worker who handles products, and to establish safe operations in the workplace.

POKKA SAPPORO Food & Beverages initiatives

Quality initiatives

POKKA SAPPORO Food & Beverages has constructed a system that evaluates and eliminates risks in each process related to raw materials, product development, manufacturing and distribution, in its mission to be a trusted company that provides products and services that satisfy customers. Furthermore, all customer feedback and opinions are taken seriously as a fundamental policy and are shared within the company to boost quality.

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The PDCA cycle for customer satisfaction

The PDCA cycle for customer satisfaction
The PDCA cycle for customer satisfaction

Quality assurance for products produced through manufacturing agreements/imported products

Collaboration with overseas manufacturers

Collaboration with overseas manufacturers

POKKA SAPPORO and GEROLSTEINER have closely collaborated for the import and sales of the German sparkling water “GEROLSTEINER.” In 2010, the companies entered a “Quality Manual” contract which combines the excellent know-how of product quality from both countries, in an attempt to standardize processes. Furthermore, great care is taken during transport as well, such as checks for used containers, instrument monitoring at sea, and reinforcements of inspections after import to stabilize product quality during transport.

Industry-first sterilization technology improves lemon product quality

Industry-first sterilization technology improves lemon product quality

The production line for “Pokka Lemon 100” at the POKKA SAPOPRO Nagoya Factory No.3 has incorporated the industry-first “AC electric field sterilization method*”to produce products with higher quality than that of conventional heating sterilization methods.

*AC electric field sterilization method: A technology that offers quick and efficient sterilization by transmitting electricity in foods

Labeling initiatives

Labeling initiatives

As part of its measures to support customers with food allergies, POKKA SAPPORO labels not only the mandatory seven specified ingredients but also the 21 items equivalent to specified ingredients for which labeling is recommended but not mandatory.
For products containing a large number of ingredients, particularly powdered soups, a table is provided on the packaging so that customers can better and more easily understand allergy-related information.

Labeling initiatives

Additionally, we will continue to make efforts in labeling practices for safety in products that do not contain allergens as well. One example is products with honey, in which we provide labeling with information that honey is not to be given to infants under one year old.

Sapporo Lion initiatives

Sapporo Lion believes it is its duty and responsibility to offer safe and secure products to customers as a company that provides food. With this, thorough quality and sanitary control is implemented in all aspects from food material procurement to cooking/serving at restaurants, in efforts to ensure the customers’ peace of mind at our restaurants.

Food material quality assurance

Preparation and handling of unforeseen circumstances

In the event issues or concerns stemming from the produce area of food materials, the quality management department of our suppliers will cooperate for swift information disclosure to change the produce areas. We also collect information on a regular basis to ensure the provision of safe food materials.

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Continuous initiatives to provide the most delicious draft beer in Japan

Sapporo Lion makes daily efforts toward its slogan of “Providing the most delicious draft beer in Japan,” as the forerunner of beerhalls in the country.
As one part of this initiative, Sapporo Lion conducts lectures to educate employees on topics related to beer, such as “Draft Beer Training” for employees including part-time staff taught by equipment managers and seasoned counter managers with the Sapporo certification of “Lion Beer Meister,” along with guidance on the traditional “Ginza Lion” beerhall way of serving beer, the “pouring in one action” technique.
Furthermore, all stores implement annual beer hose replacement and chemical cleaning of beer lines for cooler servers once a year, and concentrate on daily sanitation control, along with washing beer server equipment and glasses.
What’s more, the restaurants put full efforts in their temperature control so that customers can enjoy delicious draft beer at its optimal state. Draft beer is maintained at 2 to 3 degrees Celsius when served. These activities are displayed on posters within the facilities, to inform the customers as well.

Posters of special quality to be displayed in stores
Posters of special quality to be displayed in stores

Sanitation control in stores

Sapporo Lion implements hygiene management based on the HACCP concept, and is promoting the visualization of hygiene management by creating an electronic system for the hygiene management ledgers kept at each store. To ensure that our customers can enjoy their meals with peace of mind, we conduct annual hygiene audits at all of our restaurants nationwide. Additionally, random microorganism testing is conducted on food and equipment to verify quality and ensure safe and secure food is being provided. Any items discovered needing improvement with these sanitation inspections or microorganism testing, will result in requests to the facility to present an improvement report, which will be inspected to see whether improvements have actually been made.

Employee sanitation management training and system establishment

Reinforcing awareness of sanitation management

It is important to heighten the awareness of sanitation management in each employee when implementing thorough sanitation management. For this reason, a “Sanitation Management manual,” a pamphlet that contains basic rules on sanitation management, is distributed to all restaurants. There are also English and Chinese movie versions of the sanitation management manual, to support the many foreign staff members in charge of cooking. We have been attempting to ensure a high level of sanitary awareness throughout the staff, regardless of whether it is part-time, full-time, serving staff or cooking staff, with these pamphlets and movies.
Furthermore, efforts toward individual education are also being made, which include regular fecal examinations, daily health checks, individual e-learning, lectures on sanitation and information related to food sanitation.

Space creation to provide joy

Under the principle of providing the “JOY OF LIVING” through eating and drinking, efforts are made to create a comfortable space with chairs, tables, air conditioning, ventilation, and restaurant designs which eliminate differences in levels for customers in wheelchairs, so that customers can enjoy their meal with peace of mind.
What’s more, as awareness on prevention of passive smoking has heightened with the Health Promotion Act, new restaurants and renovated restaurants have been implementing non-smoking rules or complete separation of smoking and non-smoking areas, along with existing restaurants following suit in municipalities with the antismoking ordinance in effect. The main “The Beer Hall Lion Ginza on 7-Chome” has also installed a smoking room and designated all other areas as non-smoking. We will continue to make efforts toward this major challenge of separating smoking and non-smoking areas.

  • The smoking room at Beer Hall Lion Sotetsu Branch
    The smoking room at Beer Hall Lion Sotetsu Branch
  • The smoking room at The Beer Hall Lion Ginza on 7-Chome
    The smoking room at The Beer Hall Lion Ginza on 7-Chome
  • Kouyouen accessible restroom
    Kouyouen accessible restroom