Aug 1 • 18M

Sake Industry News. Issue #69

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Sake Industry News is a twice-monthly newsletter covering news from within the sake industry in Japan.
Episode details

Welcome to Issue #69 of SIN. 

The heat continues as chaos reigns supreme. COVID numbers are skyrocketing, but the industry isn't giving up this time. The show must go on as the sake tastings, festivals and events continue to make comebacks. While it's great to see the industry battling forward we just hope it doesn't backfire with any negative repercussions given the current climate. 

Meanwhile, the late, stop-start rainy season this year has caused some concern for how it may affect the rice harvest. But let's not panic just yet, these farmers know what they're doing and they've seen worse before so we have every confidence things can still turn out fine. 

In the meantime, keep enjoying those summer sake (if that's your season). Speaking of which, is it just our imagination or are the label designs for natsuzake this year more creative than ever? There's some great ones out there!

And now, here's the news...

From Sake To Craft Beer And Back Again

Iwate- Sekinoichi Shuzō has been well known for a number of years for its craft beer, but this autumn the brewery plans on reviving its sake brewing facilities for the first time in forty years. 

Sekinoichi Shuzō was founded in 1918 as a sake brewery. It operated as such until 1982, when the president at the time passed away suddenly leaving the brewery in financial difficulties. Flood and typhoon damage had made brewing difficult and the decision was made to outsource production of sake to other local breweries. In 1995, the brewery established Iwate Kura Beer. The success of Iwate Kura Beer inspired plans to revive the sake brewing business. 

The 2008 Miyagi Earthquake followed by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake forced a delay in plans. In April 2019, with damage from the earthquakes finally repaired, the brewery was close to getting started when the pandemic struck. 

Now finally, after another three years and Sekinoichi Shuzō is all set to begin brewing from October this year with sake available for purchase as early as November.

Sekinoichi Shuzō plans on brewing year-round, making a variety of styles and seasonal sake including a specially designed brand for the foreign market. 

A crowdfunding campaign is running on Campfire until the end of August 20. 

Source - Iwanichi | Campfire

JG: I am, not surprisingly, very much into stories of revived kura, or saved kura, or reborn kura, or those that come out of hibernation. And this is one of the most feel-good enjoyable stories that I have seen. Forced to outsource but kept the license! Survived by riding the craft beer wave! Overcame the setbacks of not one but two earthquakes, and then a pandemic! Such courage! Then returned to roots and started brewing sake. I definitely plan to jump in on this, and if you are in Japan, I encourage you to as well. 

世嬉の一酒造 ,(世嬉の一), いわて蔵ビール

New Brewing Facilities For Chitosetsuru

Hokkaido- Nippon Seishu (maker of Chitosetsuru) is planning to open a new kura for the first time in 64 years. The new brewing facility is set for completion in January 2023 with brewing slated to begin in February.  

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