Keep it All

Supporting Small Sake Breweries

While sake has more than 2,000 years of history, the brewing industry is in decline. We plan to support small breweries by planning online brewery tours. Please join us in supporting these local businesses!

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Hello!

Sake Lovers is a liquor dealer founded in 2018 by two female sake enthusiasts.

We have also started exporting sake and hope to support small breweries facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreaks. 

We will introduce six breweries in these online events, along with local sightseeing information. These events are virtual trips to Japan, in which participants can chat with brewery staff about their history and products. Though they may not be famous, there are many charming breweries all over Japan. Please join us in supporting such companies. About a hundred breweries go out of business every year, but your contribution will help to slow that trend.

The Current Situation

Sake has more than 2,000 years of history. You may recall “kuchikamisake,” which appeared in the movie "Your Name." The heroine, Mitsuha, takes it to the boundary between the living and the dead as an offering to the deities. Used in Shinto rites, sake has long been brewed at shrines and temples. In the 12th century, large tubs were used to brew sake, and it became inseparable from shrines and temples. Meiji Jingu is famous for the display of sake casks offered to the shrine. Although there were times when the sake industry prospered, since 1975, the number of breweries has decreased by half. Currently, the number of breweries is of about 1,300, including dormant companies, with the total production dropping close to 70 percent. As COVID-19 has further damaged the small breweries, we started this project to promote their products via online tours. We ask for your kind support.

Six Brewery Tours Scheduled from April to June 

 


 

1. Nishioka Honten

Nishioka Honten Inc., which produces "Hananoi," was founded in 1782. It is located at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba in Ibaraki. The area is famous for its clean water and production of fine rice, and the brewery strives to create their products using local rice and water.

Nishioka Honten Inc.

Ibaraki, Sakuragawa City, Makabe-cho, Ta, 6-1, Postal Code 300-4411

http://hananoi.jp/

 

2. Yoshidaya

Our brewery, founded in 1917, is located on the Shimabara Peninsula in Nagasaki Prefecture. We use yeasts from strains produced by the Tokyo University of Agriculture, and employ hanegi-shibori, a traditional brewing style which has become rare, as it takes much time and effort. By using this unique style, we add a special flavor to our products.  

* Umeshu can be chosen as a return gift.

Yoshidaya, Ltd.

Nagasaki, Minami-Shimabara City, Arie-cho, Yamagawa 785, Postal Code 859-2202

https://www.bansho.info/

 

3. Takeuchi Sake Brewery

Our brewery, founded in 1744, is located in Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture. Our sake brands include “Mino Kobai,” “Itteki Senzan,” and “Konohana.” Thanks to the local spring water (chosen as one of the one hundred best water sources in Japan) and the Ibuki-oroshi (the cold wind blowing from Mt. Ibuki), the area is ideal for brewing sake. 

The brewing staff adhere to our motto, “ryoshu josei” (striving to make fine sake). We have received awards at various competitions, such as Kura Master 2017 (Platinum award), SAKE-China 2018 (Gold award), and Japan Kanzake Contest (First place).

* Umeshu can be chosen as a return gift.

Takeuchi Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.

Gifu, Ogaki City, Denma-cho 1, Postal Code 503-0897

http://www.takeuchi-shuzo.jp/

4. Isaka Sake Brewery

Our brewery, founded in 1818, produces a brand of sake called “Hinodetsuru.” We are located in the Satomi District of Hitachi-Ota City, in Ibaraki Prefecture. In the past, we used to work with brewmasters from Echigo Toji, which originated in Niigata, but our company is currently pursuing its own style. We are also working with the local community to produce rice ideal for brewing sake. 

Isaka Sake Brewery, Ltd.

Ibaraki, Hitachi-Ota City, Konaka-cho 187, Postal Code 311-0504

https://www.isakasyuzou.co.jp/

 

5. Iwate Meijo

Iwate Meijo was founded in Iwate in 1858. Last year, our product received the Prefectural Governor Award (first place) at the Iwate Sake Competition. The company is thriving with our 34-year old brewmaster leading the way. Located in Oshu City, which is known for Maesawa beef, Iwate Meijo strives to be a hyperlocal company, using Oshu rice to create sake that pairs well with local cuisine.

Iwate Meijo

Iwate, Oshu City, Maesawa, Aza-shinmachi 13, Postal Code 029-4208

https://www.iwate-meijo.com/

 

6. Watanabe Shuzojo

Watanabe Shuzojo, founded in 1902, is a brewery located at Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture, known for the sake brand “Shirayukihime.” Ogaki, known for its abundant spring water, is famous as a city built on water. Our company, with a brewing staff of three, led by a female brewmaster, uses local water to make sake with care.

Watanabe Shuzojo

Gifu, Ogaki City, Hayashi-machi 8-1126, Postal Code 503-0015

http://www.minonishiki.com/

As all online events will be recorded, those who cannot attend the tours will be able to view them afterwards. With regard to privacy, no names will be mentioned in the recordings. Tour participants are welcome to turn off their cameras.

Unpasteurized sake cannot be sent overseas, so all the return gifts will be pasteurized.

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Sake brewing tours, limited to the winter, will be a long-term experience. Please join us with your friends and family. Give us a call if you have any questions about the schedule.

Please support Sake Lovers by following our Facebook page (sakeloversjapan). All of your help is greatly appreciated.

 


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