Tokyo Jizake Strolling (200 years of history)

By Ryuji Takahashi

Kanemasu Brewery (Shibata city, Niigata prefecture), producer of Junmai Daiginjo “Hatsuhana” and “Kinmasu,” celebrated 200 years since their foundation. Kanemasu Brewery was founded as “Takahashi Shuzo” in Shin-Niigata city, Niigata prefecture in 1822 and relocated to their current location in Shibata city in 1930 to access quality water and rice. I received an invitation from Kanemasu brewery to celebrate 200 years in business. Since the liquor shop I operate is a client of the brewery, I visited Shibata city, Niigata prefecture to attend the celebration. On my way, I first stopped by Aumont Sake Brewery, Inc., also located in Shibata city, Niigata prefecture.
The reason for my visit was to verify a rumor that started when Ichishima Sake Brewery changed their name to Aumont Sake Brewery, Inc. in February 2022. A rumor that the brewery’s retail shop became their promotional shop and tourist attraction circulated. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see how clean the brewery was, more like a posh Japanese restaurant in the suburbs in appearance. When I stepped inside, sake brands on the shelves consisted not only of Aumont Sake Brewery, but also by Kikusui and Kanemasu Breweries. The retail shop selling local food products is equipped with a food court, acting as a promotional shop for Aumont Sake Brewery as rumored. Although I wanted to purchase some local specialty foods, I still had to reach my primary destination. Therefore, I put off my purchase and headed to Kanemasu Brewery. Upon arrival, several participants had already arrived, along with food trucks from a local café on stand-by.
First, I spoke to the founder and master sake brewer, enjoyed a glass of beer and sake served as a gesture to welcome my visit, then followed the master sake brewery on a tour of the brewery. Although I was already familiar with the inside of the brewery, it’s not often I enter the brewery with many other visitors. Just seeing the reaction of other visitors was interesting. A 40-minute introduction of the brewery was presented throughout the day, with many visitors listening to the master sake brewer’s introduction. Next came the main product of the event, coffee liquor. In September, Brazil celebrated 200 years since declaring independence from Portugal. To commemorate this celebration, the Brazilian Embassy consulted Kanemasu Brewery, also celebrating their 200-year anniversary, to discuss a collaborative product produced from Brazilian coffee beans.
Kasutori shochu (made from distilling sake lees left over from fermenting sake) is the main shochu produced by a Japanese sake brewery, produced by Kanemasu Brewery using pot distillation. The brewery also produces rice shochu, sweet potato shochu, and distilled beverages. Shochu and Brazilian coffee beans were used to produce this collaborative coffee liquor, refreshing to the palate with a fragrant coffee aroma that calms the mind of the consumer, completed to perfection. The joint celebration between the Brazilian Embassy and Kanemasu Brewery continued for several days until preparation for production started, which consisted of a photo exhibition, capoeira performances, musical performances, etc. The day left me mesmerized by the depth of Japanese sake that established a fated connection made possible only after 200 years in business.


#daiginjo #japanese #japanesesake #jizake #junmai #niigata #sake


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