Feb 1 • 18M

Sake Industry News. Issue #57.

Know More. Appreciate More.

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Sake Industry News is a twice-monthly newsletter covering news from within the sake industry in Japan.
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Welcome to Issue #57 of SIN.

It's starting to feel a little like groundhog day here in Japan as many prefectures head into yet another quasi-state of emergency. This means bars and restaurants are closing early and....well, besides that not much else changes. It seems the restaurant trade is destined to bear the brunt of the financial burden of these COVID countermeasures. Many brewers have expressed their exasperation at the repeated restrictions being enforced, which continue to stunt sake sales, but there is little that can be done until infection numbers drop.

Yet another period of wait and see.

Rest assured, we're "waiting and seeing" with a full cup of sake in hand.

And now, here's the news...


Ceremony Marks The Beginning Of Bodaimoto Season

Nara- On January 9 the annual Seishu Festival was held at Shōryakuji temple in Bodaisenchō, regarded as one of the birthplaces of sake. The ceremony marks the beginning of bodaimoto production as the monks prepare the moto (starter mash) for producing bodaimoto sake.

The monks used 480kg of rice to produce the moto, which will be used by eight breweries that are part of the Nara Prefecture Bodaimoto Research Group and recognized, official bodaimoto producers.

Sake was produced at Shōryakuji Temple for around 200 years during the Muromachi-period (1400-1600), but due to the loss of domain and influential power of the temple, brewing eventually ceased. In 1999, Nara Prefecture along with some of the local breweries revived the brewing method and the moto production ceremony, which is held every January.

The eight registered bodaimoto breweries are: Imanishi Shuzō (Mimurosugi), Kitaoka Honten (Yatagarasu), Yagi Shuzō, Ueda Shuzō, Kikutsukasa Shuzō, Yūchō Shuzō (Kaze no Mori), Kuramoto Shuzō, Katsuragi Shuzō (Hyakurakumon)

Source - Nara Shimbun | Source + Image - Bodaimoto.org

JG: Readers likely recall that Bodaimoto is the precursor to kimoto, and tends to be rich and umami-driven, with some exceptions of course. Also, there are variations on the method that are made outside of Nara. And, even within Nara, sake made using a method called “Mizumoto” is basically the same thing, except that the moto is not made at Shōryakuji Temple, but rather at the brewery itself. Confusing nomenclature notwithstanding, find yourself some Bodaimoto or Mizumoto and enjoy it. 

菩提酛 , 正暦寺 , 今西酒造 みむろ杉 , 北岡酒造 八咫烏 , 八木酒造 升平 , 上田酒造 嬉長 ,
菊司酒造  菊司 , 油長酒造 風の森 , 倉本酒造 つげのひむろ , 葛城酒造 百楽門

Lucky 13 For Saku

Nagano- After a two-year hiatus due to COVID interruptions, the young brewers of Saku 13, a collaborative group of brewers from the Saku region of Nagano, are back and ready to tackle a new challenge.

The group is currently working on producing a junmai ginjō sparkling sake they hope to be able to offer drinkers around the world. 

Brewing began at the end of December 2021, and the sake is scheduled for release early February. More than 400 supporters on crowdfunding site, Campfire, will get first dibs on the new release while the rest of the world will have to wait a touch longer.

The project was headed by SAKU 13 "Team South": Kitsukura Shuzō, Kiuchi Shuzō, Saku no Hana Shuzō and Kurosawa Shuzō

300ml | Rice: Minami Saku, Hitogokochi sake rice 100% | Seimaibuai: 59% | Secondary bottle fermentation | Brewed at: Kitsukura Shuzō

Source - PR Times | Campfire

JG: In one of the first few issues of SIN I wrote about groups of young brewers from the same region marketing together, and SAKU 13 was one of those. Of the handful of such groups that are out there, this one holds great promise as they have a thread of consistency running through them, and enough kura and products to garner interest and momentum. I myself will be following and supporting this gang.

SAKU 13スパークリング純米吟醸酒 , ひとごこち , 橘倉酒造 , 木内醸造 , 佐久の花酒造 , 黒澤酒造

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