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OSAKA — It’s the summit gathering where everyone’s an ambassador.International Beer Summit ’97 Osaka, which kicked off here late Oct. 9, is being hailed by international microbrewery experts as one of the world’s top beer festivals. More than 100 different brews, from ales to lagers to exotic concoctions such as chocolate beer, are on display at the Umeda Sky Building until Oct. 11.Organized by nearly a dozen local consul generals and jointly organized by the Japan External Trade Organization and Sekisui House Co., an estimated 130 different breweries, including 25 from Japan, are on hand for the event. Last year’s summit attracted more than 10,000 visitors, despite little advance notice and rainy weather. This year’s gathering is expected to draw at least 12,000, according to officials at the German Consulate and Sekisui House.During the three-day event, visitors have the opportunity to sample a variety of microbeers from around the world and across Japan. “The Osaka Beer Summit has become one of the three most important in the world because of the variety of international beers available,” said Michael Jackson, a microbeer expert who has written numerous books on the subject. “I see a lot of potential for growth in the Japanese market.”Although many international beers are already available in Japan, including San Miguel and Corona, many American microbeers, like Red Hook and Alaska Amber Ale, are not. Japanese microbeers are often available only in the area in which they are produced.In addition to beer, German, Mexican, Thai and Korean foods are available, and entertainment ranging from Dixieland Jazz to Korean folk dancing is also on tap.Lectures and seminars by Jackson and other microbeer experts in Japan and abroad will take place throughout the summit for those interested in producing or distributing such products.

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