Introduction of Suigei Shuzo (Suigei Sake Brewery)
Inside Suigei brewery ‘Nagahama-gura’
Framed by the Pacific Ocean and the Shikoku Mountains, Kochi Prefecture is a treasure trove of local culinary ingredients. As can be seen in “Sawachi Ryori”, a banquet-style serving of local dishes from the sea, the mountains, and rivers—mingling over delicious food and sake has always been an integral part of the people of Tosa (Kochi’s traditional name). “Suigei” was born from such a sake and banquet-loving culture set in a mild climate. The chief charm of Suigei is its clean aftertaste that complements any dish and will have you wanting to drink it until the end of the feast. “Suigei” has been crowned “the best table sake”.
History and background
History of Suigei Shuzo
Nagahama-gura is located in Nagahama, Kochi City, near the scenic Katsurahama beach that overlooks the magnificent Pacific Ocean. This is the brewery where Suigei has produced sake since its foundation. Nagahama-gura is also on the renowned Pilgrimage Road of the Eighty Eight Temples in Shikoku and is easily accessible from the metropolitan area of Kochi City. In 1969, we succeeded from the sake brewery founded on this spot in 1872, and established Suigei Brewing Co., Ltd. to continue this sake brewing heritage. It is an old-fashioned brewery, and we inherit their historical sake brewing traditions, brewers’ spirits, and efforts toward innovation. Here at Nagahama-gura, we produce Suigei’s regular items such as “Tokubetsu Junmai” and “Junmai Ginjo Ginrei”. In particular, Junmai Ginjo Ginrei, is Nagahama-gura’s representative sake that exhibits a distinctive acidity and refreshing taste—both characteristics are Suigei’s biggest charms. From among many sake rice varieties we chose the Ginpu variety of rice harvested in Hokkaido to produce Ginrei’s rich and mellow taste.
Equipped with the latest brewing facilities, an additional brewery building, Tosa-gura, was built in 2018 in the midst of the magnificent nature in Kanbara District in Tosa City, adjacent to Kochi City. With Suigei’s traditional sake brewing techniques developed in Nagahama-gura and the new state-of-the-art facilities, in Tosa-gura we strive to brew the highest quality sake.
Suigei’s new addition: a second (high-tech) brewery building ‘Tosa-gura’
Suigei Brewery’s essential ingredients
Suigei’s sake is characterized by its rich and dry taste that holds a supreme balance of a gentle aroma and clean aftertaste. Traditionally, Nada in Hyogo and Fushimi in Kyoto are the most notable sake brewing regions in Western Japan. The root of Suigei’s sake brewing is in Hiroshima’s Akitsu Toji (Akitsu-style sake brewmasters), who in turn learned sake brewing in the Nada and Fushimi regions. The sake in Nada, brewed with its mineral-rich hard water, developed into a sweeter sake when adapted to the soft water in Hiroshima. From there it came south to Kochi’s warm, rainy and humid climate which is not always ideal for sake brewing. However, our passionate brewmasters defied the odds and created a rich and dry sake that can be crafted only in the southern region of Tosa.
Suigei’s water source
80% of sake is water, thus water is the life of sake brewing. In Nagahama-gura and Tosa-gura we use water sourced from the headwaters of the Kagami River located in Tosayama, Kochi City, selected as one of the hundred best water sources of the Heisei Period as judged by the Ministry of the Environment. In Kochi, rain quickly flows into the ocean from its steep mountain slopes, keeping its water soft and low in mineral content. We believe that the soft water and high temperatures help Suigei sake deliver a refreshing sourness and create sakes that perfectly accompany delicious food.
In Tosa-gura, we source sake rice in the form of brown rice. Even for the same variety, the state of the rice will be different if harvested in separate regions. Also, the optimum rice milling conditions will vary depending on the state of the brown rice; therefore, it is important to check the rice with our naked eyes and mill it in-house. It is greatly to our advantage that we can mill rice here in the brewery, then immediately afterward, store it in rooms at optimal temperature and humidity until the time we actually use it. With this, we can brew sake using good rice in the best condition.
Plenty of food and Suigei sake
Suigei’s company philosophy is to bring Suigei to the Tables of the World!
Sake has the power to connect people beyond gender, race, and borders. Here at Suigei, we believe that a joyous dining experience over good food and sake will bring peace to the world. Thus, we aim to brew table sake that can be enjoyed everywhere.