Introduction of Choryo Shuzo (Choryo Sake Brewery)
Choryo Brewery’s famous ‘Tarusake’
Choryo Shuzo is located in Koryo-cho to the north-west of Nara, which is said to be the birthplace of Sake.
Koryo-cho is surrounded by historic heritages: the shrine dedicated to the God of Sake "Omiwa Jinja" to the east, the holy site of Buddhism origin Asuka-ji to the south, and Horyu-ji temple nominated as a "World Heritage" to the north.
The philosophy of our sake brewing is based on "Shou-dou-mu-kyu-kyoku"(Self- satisfaction shall be avoided for one can always better themselves.) We have been dedicating ourselves to brewing sake that would be appreciated by customers and therefore we pay special attention to rice, water, people and sake brewing.
History and background of ‘Tarusake’
Barrel sake and bottled barrel sake
Once upon a time, all sake used to be called Tarusake (Japanese cedar barrel-flavored sake).
From the beginning of the Edo Period to the end of the Meiji Period (17th – 19th centuries), sake was normally stored in barrels called taru made of cedar. Therefore, in those days sake was simply called tarusake. Cedar barrels are expensive and not suitable for mass production, and temperature control and cleaning are also difficult. Additionally, the taste may be negatively influenced depending on the storage conditions and period after barreling. Thus it became common sense to use bottles, and the aroma of the barrels disappeared from ordinary sake.
The founder of Choryo Sake Brewery, Mr. Iida, wanted to bring back the nostalgic taste to the Japanese people by bottling the former high-quality "barrel sake" in a bottle with the best balance of taste and aroma. From the thought that it might be possible, we struggled to select and secure high-quality barrel materials, and formed a barrel material manufacturer's association to support our efforts. After conducting plenty of research, we devised a manufacturing process, and were passionate about bringing it to the market with a trademark "Yoshinosugi no Taru Sake" on the label.
In 1964, Choryo succeeded in making an excellent tarusake using Yoshino cedar barrels, making this the first bottled barrel sake in Japan. Since then, for almost 50 years we have been making tarusake in the same traditional way.
Since then, Choryo has won many awards, including 10 gold medals from the ‘Monde Selection’ (since 1992), 10 gold medals from the 'National Sake Awards' in Japan, Gold Prize and Regional Trophy at the '2009 International Wine Challenge', and the Golden award of Excellence Junmai at the '2007 USA National Sake Appraisal'.