“Rubbing Alcohol Manufactured by Sake Producers: Part 2”

By Kosuke Kuji

The spread of the novel coronavirus caused a shortage of rubbing alcohol in the market.
Our company happens to distribute “alcohol,” licensed to produce alcohol as well.
However, Japanese sake is not highly concentrated alcohol. Our license we hold is for brewing Japanese sake, not a license to produce highly concentrated alcohol products.
In the midst of this dilemma, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare issued an unprecedented notice to “permit the use of highly concentrated alcohol products produced by sake brewers to be used as rubbing alcohol by the healthcare industry.”
In addition, the Japanese National Tax Agency presiding over permits for alcohol production issued a notice stating, “Major steps will be taken to relax the regulation of alcohol production as rubbing alcohol.” Further, since highly concentrated alcohol can be seen as hazardous material, the Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency also issued a notice to “ensure speedy and flexible implementation of the Fire Service Act throughout the community,” encouraging the production of highly concentrated alcohol by various Japanese producers of regional sake, shochu, Awamori, and other “national alcoholic beverages” like ourselves for use as rubbing alcohol by the healthcare industry. I’d like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the Japanese National Tax Agency, and the Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency, etc., for their speedy decision to relax the regulations.
If someone was in need, I wouldn’t be able to pass by without offering help. Therefore, we immediately announced our decision to “produce rubbing alcohol,” and picked up the ball running.
Although we cannot produce surgical masks or protective clothing for the healthcare industry, we can definitely produce alcohol. Actually, we’re the only ones capable of producing rubbing alcohol.
We immediately launched our production of rubbing alcohol to fulfill our mission of helping those in need of rubbing alcohol to satisfy our responsibilities and mission as a licensed alcohol producer.

「酒類業者による消毒用アルコールの製造 その2」


#Sake #coronavirus


The Taste of Japanese Sake

Sake aroma is difficult to describe in one phrase. However, focusing one’s senses helps to detect the aroma of various plants and food ingredients harmonized together. This issue introduces the below aromas detected in sake.

Herbal and Spice Aromas
Cherry blossom leaves, thyme, lemon balm, clove, licorice, green pepper, cinnamon, mint, juniper berries, caraway, laurel (bay) leaves, estragon, French parsley, vanilla, nutmeg, green tea, rosemary, eucalyptus, Japanese mugwort, ears of rice, matcha, basil, turmeric and ginger.

Fruit Aromas
Lychee, melon, Chinese quince, apple, loquat, pear, banana, white peach, yellow peach, persimmon, muscat, dried fig, muskmelon, Yubari melon, dried banana, akebi, Asian pear (20th Century pear), mango, mangosteen, grape, nectarine, red bayberries, lemon, apricot, pineapple, sudachi, green apple, cherry, raspberry, strawberry, lime, orange, grapefruit, green ume (plum), kiwi, plum and yuzu.

Grain Aromas
Dried ears of rice, glutinous rice flour, freshly-pound mochi, sweet rice flour, adzuki beans, soy beans, rice, Kudzu starch gruel, tofu, soba (buckwheat noodles), bracken-starch dumpling, genmai (brown rice), sakura mochi (rice cake wrapped in preserved cherry leaf), malt, sweet potato, sticky rice, Domyoji (Kansai-style sakura mochi), tofu skin, corn flakes and steamed bread.

Wood Aromas
Green bamboo, bamboo, bamboo leaves, magnolia, new leaves, Japanese cypress, maple, pine needles and pine.

日本酒物語 日本酒の味







Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Trip to Niigata Prefecture Part 2)

By Ryuji Takahashi

This article is a continuation of my previous issue about my trip to Niigata prefecture to enjoy ramen and a local sake brewery tour. Niigata prefecture is home to the “Senami Onsen” hot springs in Murakami city. On the first day, we left the Kanemasu Brewery and booked a reservation at the traditional Japanese inn “Taikanso Senami no Yu” with the largest bath at the Senami Onsen hot springs to bathe and relax while viewing the sun set into the Japan Sea. As soon as we arrived, we had our temperature checked.
Initially concerned a high temperature might prevent our stay; we were luckily able to check in without any issues. Of course, we dropped off the luggage in our rooms and headed straight to the hot springs to recover from the long trip. Unfortunately, we went too early to see the sunset from the hot springs, but witnessed the sunset from the dining room while enjoying our dinner course.
Blessed by the beautiful weather, we enjoyed our dinner course while taking in the spectacular sunset. The next day, we left the inn and arrived at the Sasaiwai Brewery in Nishikanku ward, Niigata city; after approximately 2 hours. My hopes grew as I noticed the ambiance inside the Sasaiwai Brewery changed since my last visit.
The entrance of the sake brewery is similar to that of a café, adorned with repurposed sake barrels with a tasting room and display shelves creating a chic ambiance without appearing out-of-date. Sake production was already over by the time we visited. However, walking inside the brewery, I was overwhelmed by many historic architecture and tools that made my jaw drop in awe.
Brewery Master Sasaguchi explained reinstating the authentic regional sake production process in modern times while reorganizing a user-friendly workplace for his sake brewery workers. Still in his thirties, the young Brewery Master seems to be a capable CEO with a clear understanding of both the modern day demands and the future direction of the sake industry.
After a tour of the sake brewery, we asked about the large quantity of pottery lined on a shelf. The pottery was stored inside the storage unit, sold to visitors of the brewery at very cheap prices. Our chef was with me, so we bought small plates for use and a small serving flask for display at our restaurant. Happy to purchase rare antiques, we left the brewery in a very good mood.
We headed to the next sake brewery in Nagaoka. We stopped in for lunch at the ramen shop Koshu Hanten, renowned for their Tsubame Sanjo Seabura Ramen. The recent prevalence of thick ramen noodles in pork soup stock with pork back fat served in Tokyo originated in Niigata prefecture. Pork back fat is served floating on the soup surface to ensure the soup does not get cold in the cold climate of Niigata prefecture, along with thick noodles to ensure the noodles don’t get overcooked and soft before the very last bite.
I ordered 3 vegetable gyoza (dumplings) and a standard ramen. Although Koshu Hanten accepts orders for generous portions of pork back fat, I ordered the regular portion for my first visit. The gyoza was the size of a child’s fist, with 3 pieces sufficiently filling for someone with a small appetite. For the main course, the ramen broth was a bit on the salty side, but sipping together with the pork back fat neutralizes the saltiness to create the perfect harmony of flavors. I was surprised by this newly discovered function that pork back fat plays in the ramen soup stock as I finished the bowl. Full and satisfied, we headed next to another sake brewery in Nagaoka city, to be continued in Part 3.



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