6th Generation Brewer Sato Jumpei's Resume
The Raw Ingredient — The Rice ("TATENOKAWA" Newspaper 11/04/2013）
When I returned to the brewery, to begin, with we were using the sake rice varieties, Miyama Nishiki, Yamada Nishiki, Sasa Nishiki and Yuki Kessho etc.
However, as I remember it, we only made 2 tanks of Daiginjo so we actually mostly used Sasa Nishiki and Miyama Nishiki for a Honjozo focused production.
It was at a time when Dewasansan, an original sake-making-rice varietal developed in Yamagata Prefecture, was gradually gaining recognition so I made the decision that for the new brand we would use only sake-making-rice varietals. We started to use three varieties of sake-making-rice: Miyama Nishiki which we were now used to using, Yamagata Prefecture original Dewasansan and Yamada Nishiki which was often used to make high quality sake like Daiginjo etc.
We whittled the range of products down to a Ginjo, Nakadori (Midde-Cut) Junmai and Junmai Ginjo class special-designation-sake, and put together a line-up where the main focus was sake that would retail between 2-3000 yen per 1.8L bottle.
We hadn’t yet started contracted rice production at that time so we procured our rice from rice suppliers and hired another company to do the polishing. The raw ingredients of sake are rice and water and the rice plays a big role in determining the end-quality of the sake, but there is the problem that sake rice is much harder to cultivate than cooking rice meaning that the crop yield does not increase.
Because of that, I believed that we would soon be in an era where over the long term we would have to tackle the issue independently if we were to secure enough good quality sake rice. I felt really strongly about creating and going out to sell regional sake, where possible made with locally grown rice, that conjures up images of the scenery of Yamagata Prefecture — I plan to write about contracted rice cultivation in a later issue.
Photographs: Yamagata original sake-making-rice: Dewasansan
Photograph Top: In raw unpolished state.
Photograph Bottom: 50% of the grain polished away.
6th Generation Brewer Sato Jumpei