Introduction of Daishichi Shuzo (Daishichi Sake Brewery)

Daishichi brewery

A place where tradition and innovation meet – that is the Daishichi Sake Brewery. From polishing the rice to brewing, bottling and maturation, we hold fast unto traditional artisanal methods, but also strive after technical innovations. Daishichi is synonymous with ‘kimoto’, the highest level of sake brewing at which tradition and innovation go hand in hand. We use only ‘Yamada Nishiki’ and ‘Gohyakumangoku’ sake rice and pay close attention to their cultivation by frequent contact with the growers. We make no compromises at any stage of the process, from rice polishing to sake brewing, and also including bottling and maturation. We hold fast unto traditional artisanal methods but also strive after technical innovations. 

History and background

Historic sake brewing

Established in 1752 (the 2nd year of the Horeki period), Daishichi’s history began when Saburouemon Ohta and his family moved from the old Ise province to Nihonmatsu. From that time, until the present 10th generation, Daishichi has always insisted on a strictly orthodox brewing tradition: the kimoto method. Daishichi’s rich, mellow sakes are all outstanding examples of kimoto sake. At the time of founding, the sake was called “Oyama.” The 8th generation head, who in modern times revived the company, changed the brand name to “Daishichi,” incorporating part of the name “Shichiuemon,” which is assumed by each head of the family in turn. In his time, Daishichi was designated as the official sake for the formal enthronement of the Showa Emperor in 1928. In 1938, Daishichi was named Grand Champion in the prestigious Japan Sake Awards. Daishichi’s fame spread across Japan.

In the early years of the 20th c. the simpler brewing methods of ‘yamahai’ and ‘sokujomoto’ were developed by the National Research Institute of Brewing and soon spread all over the country. The 8th Shichiuemon was one of the first to experiment with sokujomoto, but came to the conclusion that only the kimoto method resulted in sake that fulfilled his ideals. At a time that breweries in the whole country one after another gave up the kimoto method, he continued to defend the isolated stronghold of kimoto. Despite the recent boom in light and dry sake, Daishichi has continued to pursue technical improvements to take maximum advantage of kimoto’s powerful qualities. Daishichi became the first brewery in the history of the Japan Sake Awards to win the Gold Medal with a junmai sake made with the traditional kimoto method, firmly establishing its position as leader in kimoto brewing.

Brewing process

On the one hand, Daishichi has introduced such innovations as the super-flat rice polishing method, developed in-house, as well as Japan’s first anoxic bottling system. On the other hand Daishichi has also made efforts to deepen the tradition, for example by newly casting Japanese iron cauldrons and constructing a dedicated facility for brewing in wooden vats. Daishichi has also revived the heritage of various cultural traditions connected with sake making. In 2006 the head of rice polishing, Yoshio Ogata, received the award of “Contemporary Master Craftsman” from the Japanese government, and in 2016 the same honor was awarded to our master brewer, Takanobu Sato. Daishichi is the only sake brewery that has produced Contemporary Master Craftsmen in both rice polishing and sake brewing.

Inside Daishichi brewery

Daishichi seeks universal values in sake brewing and we therefore at an early time shifted our attention to the world outside Japan. At present Daishichi exports to more than 20 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Daishichi is held in very high esteem at the world stage: we have for example provided the sake for the toast at the G8 Toyako Summit and for a gala dinner of European royalty, and are being served in some of the most exclusive restaurants abroad. Daishichi continues to win awards, such as the Governor’s Award at the “First Fukushima Industrial Awards ” (2016) and the Prize of the Minister of Economic Affairs at the “Seventh Monozukuri Japan Awards” (2018). In this way, Daishichi goes on making sake history.

Nihonmatsu area

In sake making, we have five clear ideals. These are: striving after the universal value of sake, exclusive use of the orthodox kimoto method, drawing out the latent potential of the raw material, bringing the aesthetics of flavor to the world, and, finally, the conviction that thoroughly focusing on those ideals will be a passport to a world-wide reputation. From Japan to the World. Our hearts are set on making only “the best.” Distilling human knowledge and expertise, we aspire to depth and power of flavor combined with refinement.

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