Tokyo Jizake Strolling (Sake Breweries Face a New Challenge)

By Ryuji Takahashi

Nakatani Brewing Co., Ltd. is a long-established sake brewery operating since the Edo period (1603-1867). Located in Yamato-koriyama city, Nara prefecture, the brewery’s sake product Mikka-odori garnered attention. Upon release, master sake brewers from other sake breweries visited my sake shop to purchase the Mikka-odori and study the flavor of this breakthrough sake product. The Mikka-odori was not entered into the Annual Japan Sake Awards as sake produced from sake rice, but as sake produced from regular rice instead. Still, the brewery’s extremely advanced brewing skills helped the Mikka-odori garner the Gold Prize.
Yamato-koriyama city, home to Nakatani brewery, was designated as a special zone to experience sake production based on the Structural Reform Special Area Act in December 2020. Following this designation, the Nakatani brewery decided to establish Yanagimachi Brewery in a separate location from their current brewery for tourists to experience sake production firsthand and to take a new step forward as the “first Japanese sake micro brewery & sake bar in Japan to offer firsthand experience in sake production.”
The current brewery is located in an area difficult to access by car, one reason sampling events typically offered during sake brewery tours cannot be organized here. On the other hand, the Yanagimachi brewery is close to the Kintetsu Koriyama station, easily accessible by train. After the sake production experience, tourists can walk into the adjoining sake bar and enjoy sake to their heart’s content before heading home safely by train. Although meals are not served at the sake bar, food can be brought in or delivered from the Jyokamachi Shopping District, revitalizing business for the shopping district as well.
Tourists visiting the brewery can produce very low volumes of sake in only several dozen gallons. Also, tourists can sample fresh sake squeezed daily, still containing carbon dioxide. Of course, not every aspect of this new business direction is pleasant. As concerns are raised over recent consumers growing distant from Japanese sake and alcohol, customers may gather when the product first garners attention, but maintaining the initial momentum in ways that generate long-term sales will require serious effort. Since the Kintetsu Koriyama Station area is not a lively area to begin with, the brewery must be feeling anxious. Also, the current brewery will temporarily halt sake production, meaning their classic sake products like Mikka-odori and Banjo will not be available, very disappointing news. However, we support the brewery’s new business direction regardless.
Nakatani brewery is crowdfunding to establish this new brewery. Past sake is named the last sake, while future sake is referred to as the first sake to be delivered to supporters. One tank of original sake can also be produced. Purchases have already started among many supporters. I also made a purchase to support the brand. I would also like to visit Japan’s first sake microbrewery in this area where Japanese sake originated. As a Japanese sake enthusiast, I would also love to see Nakatani Brewing Co., Ltd. pass on their high sake-brewing skills to future generations.


#NakataniBrewing #Nara #japanesesake #sake


Perceptional changes

By Yuji Matsumoto

While sake and food pairing is now the norm, why not try to change your perception in your approach?

While comparisons are made regularly, wine is compared to other wine, sake is compared to other sake, and shochu is compared to other shochu. This is great to compare the subtle differences in flavor with other brands. Why not try a fun food pairing that invokes a mind-blowing reaction like “I never imagined this type of pairing!” from consumers. For example, serve fresh oysters with champagne and sparkling wine together to have consumers compare the delicious flavors of both pairing.

*Try pairing red wine with cheese, along with Kimoto sake, aged sake.
*For salads, try pinot grigio and flavored sake (yuzu, blueberry)
*For sashimi, try pairing with chardonnay, pinot grigio and Daiginjo
*For main meat dishes, try pairing with Junmai sake or red wine
*For fried dishes or creamy pasta, try pairing with Barley shochu and white wine.

Try pairing with these combinations and have your customers sample them.

While these three types of beverages (wine, sake, shochu) differ greatly in brewing method and ingredients, each are no doubt successful in boosting the dishes they’re paired with. By trying these combinations, why not try to find creative ways to bring a moving culinary experience that would invoke reactions like, “What is this!? This is delicious!” from customers?




#sake #shochu #wine


Sake Nation “Praying for World Peace”

By Kosuke Kuji

Shocking news of Russia invading Ukraine rattled Japan in the end of February 2022.
A nation that relinquished war based on the three non-nuclear principles and Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, Japan advocates for peace. Therefore, it never occurred to the Japanese that a major invasion and war would start during the Reiwa Era (2019~).
We pray this conflict will end quickly for peace to return.
To enjoy “alcoholic beverages” like Japanese sake, beer, and wine requires peace.
Needless to say, no one would drink alcohol on the battlefield.
Recently, I’ve contemplated how our family business of sake production passed down through generations requires “peace” to operate.
Japanese sake exports are purchased in high volumes by nations such as the U.S., China, etc. and also Russia.
The Consulate-General of Japan in Vladivostok was planning to organize a remote Japanese sake seminar and sampling event in early March.
After thorough preparation including a rehearsal was complete, Russia invaded Ukraine a day later, causing the event to be canceled.
Our disappointment over the canceled event was overpowered by our agony over the sad plight of Ukrainian refugees and the agony of Russians protesting the war.
We sincerely pray for peace to return as soon as possible for Ukraine and Russia to enjoy delicious cuisine and sake.


#JapaneseSake #Russia #Ukraine #WorldPeace #sake


Kuchi-kami sake

Kuchi-kami sake is produced by chewing grains such as rice or seed in the mouth, spit out, and left as is, documented in the “Oosumikoku-fudoki.”
Geographically, kuchi-kami sake spread from the South Pacific Ocean to the northern/southern American continents, thought to have spread from the southern islands to Japan.
Sake ingredients are not limited to rice, but all grains, such as foxtail millet, barn millet, corn, etc.

Mythical Sake
Rice sake in Japan is documented in “Kiki-shinwa” (mythical tales documented in “Kojiki” and “Nihonshoki” about the beginning of heaven and earth, and the gods that led to the birth of the first and legendary Emperor of Japan. Both documents were written around the same time as the “Gishiwajinden,” written in China).
Mythical sake is produced from malted rice and rice or rice porridge, prepared together, saccharified and fermented. Apparently, mythical sake was low in alcohol content, closer to unfiltered sake than amazake (sweet sake).


#Gishiwajinden #Kuchikamisake #MythicalSake #sake


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