Introduction of Takasago Shuzo (Takasago Sake Brewery)




Takasago Sake Brewery’s historical buildings now

A member of the Kohiyama family founded Takasago Sake Brewery, then named Kohiyama Sake Brewery, in 1899. It was only the fourth brewery in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, but after that the numbers grew, and Asahikawa became known as the "Nada of the North Sea" (Nada being famous for sake).

In 1965, Kohiyama Sake Brewery merged with Ishizaki Sake Brewery Co., Ltd., and the company name was changed to "Takasago Sake Brewery Co., Ltd." After the war sweet sake was the mainstream, but the dry taste type gradually became more popular, and in 1975 we created a representative brand of dry and masculine sake called "Kokushi Musou", in response to the changing times. It was mainly sold in Asahikawa and Northern Hokkaido, but later sales were expanded from the rest of Japan to all over the world.

Takasago Sake Brewery’s historical buildings then



Takasago Brewery’s essential ingredients

Abundance of water resources

Takasago’s water sources

Surrounded by snowy mountains and four rivers (Biei River, Ushishubetsu River, Chubetsu River, Ishikari River), Asahikawa, located in the Kamikawa Basin, is a city with extremely abundant water resources. The plentiful high-quality groundwater stored by subsidence and sedimentation has almost no seasonal qualitative changes. It can be said that it is a land blessed with water, which is an important element of sake brewing. The water used by Takasago Shuzo for brewing is groundwater belonging to the Chubetsu River basin. It was found that the groundwater in the Chubetsu River basin has an extremely low iron content and is suitable for sake brewing.

High-quality rice: "Hokkaido rice suitable for sake brewing"

Hokkaido rice

Where there is water, there is rice, and where there is rice, there is sake. Good quality rice is what makes sake brewing possible. "Hatsushizuku" developed by the Hokkaido Agricultural Experiment Station of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1998 became the first sake rice produced in Hokkaido. In 2000, the first version was further improved to create the large, cold-resistant "Ginpu". Then, in 2006, "Suisei" and in 2014, "Kitashizuku", both rice types suitable for sake brewing, were developed in Hokkaido one after another.

With the improvement of sake rice, the quality of sake also improved dramatically, and made possible the production of sake with a rich flavor and aroma, as well as a clear and crisp texture. Thus the demand for rice produced in Hokkaido increased, and it is now often used in sake breweries in other prefectures. 
Takasago Shuzo is highly evaluated for our sake brewing using Hokkaido rice, with the ratio of this rice used currently being over 80%. In the "Kokushi Musou" series, more than 90% of the sake is brewed from Hokkaido rice!

Sake stored in the snow that makes the best use of nature

Creating the snow storage

In order to further improve the quality of the brewed sake, the whole tank is carried to Biei, covered with snow until it is completely invisible, and aged at a low temperature for a long time. By doing so, the temperature inside the tank is maintained at around -2 ° C. The surface of the tank does not come into direct contact with the outside air, so air convection due to temperature changes is suppressed, and the aging environment is made more stable. After that, we leave it to nature and wait for the sake to mature and become even more delicious.

This is a unique storage method that Takasago Shuzo started in 1997 with the desire to "make more use of the natural power of the area for sake brewing." When the northern island finally begins to feel the signs of spring, the sake stored in the snow ‘wakes up from a long sleep’, and is delivered to everyone as a gem with a mellow taste and aroma.

Hokkaido’s snowy mountains

Takasago Shuzo Co., Ltd. celebrated its 120th anniversary in October 2019. Looking back over the years, we were able to mark 120 years of history while overcoming many trials and hardships.
Since our founding in 1899, we have continued to make "things that can only be found here" as a local sake brewery in Asahikawa, using the skills and tireless efforts of our predecessors. We will never be overwhelmed by this history and tradition, always show our spirit of challenge, and aim to be the most beloved sake brewery in the region and a company that can contribute to society.

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