Welcome to Issue #54 of Sake Industry News - our last issue for 2021.
Let's be honest. After what we went through in 2020 we all had higher expectations for this year, but it seems we're still not out of the woods yet. Japan's borders look set to remain closed for a little while longer, meaning all those folks jonesing to get back here will have to wait just a bit more. But rest assured, the day will come.
It hasn't been all bad news this year though, and this edition of SIN is full of positive things happening in the sake industry. In fact it's so full we have bumped our usual article with SIN founder John Gauntner for an exclusive interview with Bungo Tanaka who is doing some very interesting work in the industry.
So let's forget about the bad, focus on the good and enjoy the festive season with our nearest loved ones, some fine food, and of course, amazing sake.
From all of us at SIN we wish all of our readers a fantastic holiday season and we’ll see you all again on Jan 1st to help bring in the new year!
And now for the news...
Partnership Announcement For US Brewery
USA- On December 6 it was officially announced that Hakkaisan USA (subsidiary of Hakkaisan Brewery Co. Japan) has joined forces with Gotham Sake LLC, producers of Brooklyn Kura in a business and capital partnership.
On the Hakkaisan USA website, the brewery states:
… "We have entered a long-term business partnership because we share the same values: a passion for brewing sake, an attitude of business development rooted in the local region, and a goal of expanding sake to a global market.
The Hakkaisan Group has always wished for sake to become a standard choice in the alcohol market globally. And for sake to be an internationally recognized drink, it needs to be locally produced with local water and rice as an everyday drink and enjoyed by locals just as they do with wine, whisky and beer. Maintaining and constantly improving the quality are also important."…
Co-founder and president of Brooklyn Kura, Brian Polen said of the development,
"We couldn’t be more proud of this announcement and our relationship with Hakkaisan. The strategic investment and partnership give us the ability to build capacity, share resources, jointly develop new products and accelerate our effort to grow the global sake market."
Co-founder and master brewer at Brooklyn Kura, Brandon Doughan added,
"This just seemed like an obvious cultural and philosophical fit. Hakkaisan's ability to balance generational artistry with their more technical sake brewing methods is something that appealed to us very early on."
The investment will enable Brooklyn Kura to expand production and increase capacity with an extended availability of resources while maintaining autonomy to continue doing things the Brooklyn Kura way.
JG: Congratulations to Brooklyn Kura and to Hakkaisan! This is quite an exciting development, and we are sure it will work out very well for both companies. And what a huge step in the direction of making sake more familiar and accessible to a much wider fan base.
Matsumoto Makes His Move
Kyoto- There have been several sightings of Hidehiko Matsumoto since he parted ways with his family's brewery, Matsumoto Shuzō under less than ideal circumstances last year. Matsumoto has been traveling around northern parts of Japan as something of a hired gun and advisor, most recently being involved with Suginomori Shuzō in Nagano, a brewery making a comeback after a 10-year hiatus.
On December 1, Matsumoto made an announcement via Facebook detailing his future plans in a more concrete fashion with some very big news for the local industry. In the post, Matsumoto announced he would be establishing a new brewery in Kyoto under the name Nichi Nichi Jōzō. He is in the process of building the brewing facilities with his first release scheduled for spring 2022. The brewery's focus will be on using Tōjo Yamada Nishiki from Hyogo Prefecture with Kyoto's renowned soft water to create the new brand.
Matusmoto explained further details will be forthcoming soon before closing with the somewhat cryptic statement, "The future determines the past", further explaining that whatever happened in the past he is determined to put everything into the future.
We will be keeping a close eye on Matsumoto's activities over the coming months.
JG: SIN is not the only one watching this closely. It is not our place to comment on brewery family issues, but we earnestly hope for Matsumoto-san’s success. The new brewery will be starting out slow, so there will not be much to go around, but we will do our best to score some. So should you.
World’s Oldest Guide To Sake Brewing Translated Into English
USA- Professor of history at Kansas University and Japanophile, Eric C. Rath has completed the task of translating Goshu no Nikki (The Sake Journal), a brewing tome regarded as the oldest in existence. Although controversy surrounds when the book was first written, the current manuscript, which is held in the Tokyo Institute Of Archives, is dated as being from 1566.