Adam McBrady honored with Friendship Award from Japan America Society of St. Louis

by | May 9, 2024

The history alum helped drive collaboration between Urban Chestnut Brewing Company and Masumi Sake on a beer to commemorate JASSTL's 50th anniversary.
Adam McBrady

History alum Adam McBrady is the hospitality and guest experience manager at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)

Hometown: St. Louis

Major: BS in History, 2004

Current Position:

Fun Fact: McBrady received a Hospitality Hero Award from Explore St. Louis in 2021 for calmly assisting a panicked mother who’d accidentally locked her baby in the car outside UCBC’s Grove Brewery and Bierhall.

Adam McBrady found it all a little overwhelming last November when he learned he would be presented with the Friendship Award from the Japan America Society of St. Louis. The organization even surprised him with framed calligraphy meant to be an artistic representation of the words “Urban Chestnut Brewing Company” in kanji.

McBrady was honored for his partnership with JASSTL in his role as the brewery’s hospitality and guest experience manager. It’s been a blessing to be involved given his long-held affinity for Japan and Japanese culture, having fallen in love with the country during a one-month homestay in the town of Chigasaki in high school. That led him to take all the Japanese courses he could while pursuing a degree in history at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, which at the time had not yet launched a degree program in Japanese. He took a study abroad trip to Japan and returned to the country after graduation to teach English.

JASSTL leaders were particularly grateful for the role McBrady played in the brewery’s development of Konomi Ale, a Japanese-inspired ale brewed with rice and matcha and fermented with a sake yeast strain, in collaboration with Masumi Sake to commemorate JASSTL’s 50th anniversary.

“Everybody has a pet project, and that’s very much mine,” McBrady says.

The collaboration was born of a conversation at a 2016 beer and sake event with Katsuhiko Miyasaka, whose family has been brewing Masumi Sake in St. Louis’ sister city of Suwa in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan for over 360 years. McBrady remembers sharing the philosophy of Beer Divergency at the heart of Urban Chestnut’s approach to brewing. The brewery aims to share high-quality American-style craft beers through its Revolution Series while also providing beer drinkers classic European brews through its Reverence Series.

“Although we were expressing them in a culturally different manner, a lot of our focus was very much the same – innovating while also preserving the traditions,” McBrady says.

When JASSTL representatives approached Urban Chestnut about brewing a special beer for the anniversary, McBrady and Brewmaster Florian Kuplent went to Miyasaka with a plan to collaborate, and Masumi wound up sharing its Sake #7 Yeast strain to use in the brew.

“I love all of the individual things I’ve done for and with Urban Chestnut and all the individual connections I’ve made with customers over the years,” McBrady says. “But if you’re talking a singular proud moment – being a brewery that at the time was probably only 7 or 8 years old – having them be willing to do a collaboration beer with us was phenomenal.”

This story was originally published in the spring 2024 issue of UMSL Magazine. If you have a story idea for UMSL Magazine, email

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik