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Fukushima’s Award-Winning Sake

Consistently known for their high quality sake, Fukushima has a few staple brands that we’ll cover today. Their emphasis on using only the highest quality ingredients has allowed Fukushima brewers to continually win the top awards for sake in Japan. Let’s dive in.

  • SUEHIRO SAKE BREWERY

    SUEHIRO SAKE BREWERY

    SUEHIRO SAKE BREWERY

    Established in the Edo period, this brewery has stood the test of time for over 150 years. With almost a religious fervor, the dedicated masters at Suehiro brewery continue the tradition as if the sake god themselves would strike them down if their effort ceased. Combining both old traditional brewing techniques and modern-day technology, they’ve crafted an authentic sake taste that can only be designed from Aizu water, Aizu rice, and Aizu people.

    SUEHIRO SAKE BREWERY

    SUEHIRO SAKE BREWERY

    And this fervent devotion has paid off for Suehiro Sake Brewery. They’ve won the Gold and Silver prizes for Japan’s most highly regarded sake competition, the 2017 Kanpyokai, competing against 1,730 other sake products. As expected from a group of masters, on their website they express their deepest gratitude while displaying extreme modesty for receiving the Gold prize.

    They continue on to say they will repeatedly strive, to the best of their ability, and with wholehearted devotion, to creating the highest quality sake for their customers.

    SUEHIRO SAKE BREWERY

    SUEHIRO SAKE BREWERY

    Overall, you can almost taste the devotion in the air as you walk throughout the brewery. The fine lines and silent wood seemed to be doused in history and tradition. A fine reminder that in commitment lies purpose and fulfillment.

  • YAMATO SAKE

    Without the finest ingredients from nature, high-quality sake cannot be produced. This is the sentiment Yamato Sake has carried with it since it was first established in 1790. Their mission has always been to please their customers with high-quality sake produced from the finest of nature’s ingredients sourced from the local Aizu environment.

    YAMATO SAKE

    YAMATO SAKE

    Their Edo Storehouse is heralded as one of the oldest earthen sake storehouses built during the Edo period. During your visit to this museum, you might notice the long timber beams directly below the ceiling, This allowed the storehouse to survive the harsh winters Kitakata, Aizu is known for.

    As you walk through this piece of history, we noted the delicate placement of tools used in the brewery from long ago. They included a tub, sake boat and bottles. Their presence added a great sense of place and allowed us to connect with those from the past.

    YAMATO SAKE

    YAMATO SAKE

    The Taisho Storehouse was built during the Taisho period and had its walls lined with tanks for storing brewed sake. However, it is now used to showcase Yamato brand sake products. You can see the progress from generations ago right before your eyes. The juxtaposition is enlightening.

    As temperature can alter the painstakingly crafted taste of sake, storehouses are designed with heat insulation. This way, the storehouse keeps the sake cool in the summer and warm in the winter, allowing stability throughout the four seasons. This Taisho-style storehouse provided the original Yamato Sake brewers the perfect space for brewing.

  • HOMARE SAKE BREWERY

    Established in 1918, Homare Sake Brewery was originally a manufacturer of miso and koji (mold used during the brewing process). To spread their name nationally without any misunderstandings, they wrote their name, Homare, in Hiragana. They had a Nagano-born calligraphy artist write out their name, and good that they did, as their artistry and their iconography is now known nationwide.

    HOMARE SAKE BREWERY

    HOMARE SAKE BREWERY

    Homare Brewery holds nothing back with their water. Not only do they use natural, expertly prepared water, but they combine that with water from washed rice. This technique certainly distinguishes them from the rest of the competition.

    This dedication to only using the highest quality water has paid off in dividends. The master brewer, Nakajima, was awarded the Kanpyoukai award nine times and an award from the Governor of Aizu twice for his dedication to excellence.

    We’ve covered some of the most highly regarded sake brands in Fukushima. More than just a simple dedication to using top-notch ingredients, there is a general consensus of protecting the tradition and process of creating the sake throughout the generations. This devotion to culture and history can be felt in the actual breweries themselves, and consequently, in the sake as well.

    As might be the concern of many of you reading this, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 have been adequately addressed, with each brewery insisting on the painstaking process of triple-checking the rice and water for radiation exposure to ensure that the Fukushima brand of sake still maintains its quality. And the accolades don’t lie. Fukushima sake is still scooping up awards by the bundle. Won’t you try some?

    Fukushima
    Address
    Fukushima Pref. Fukushimashi Sakaemachi
    Phone
    Suehiro Sake Brewery Kaeigura
    Address
    Fukushima Pref. Aiduwakamatsushi Nisshinmachi 12-38
    Phone
    0242270002
    Aizuwakamatsu
    Address
    Fukushima Pref. Aiduwakamatsushi Ekimaemachi
    Phone
    Address
    福島県喜多方市松山町村松常盤町2706
    Phone
    0241225155
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