Brewery That Spreads Good Fortune via Sake (Saturday, June 1st, 2013)
Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Brewery
Established in 1751, Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Brewery from Kobe city is one of those old-timer breweries that has stood the test of time, including the great earthquake that demolished their operation and their city in 1995. But with great determination and good fortune, the establishment was quickly able to pick up the pieces and not only reopen by the following year, but in time has become an award-winning producer, and a center to promote sake culture.
The brewery has many things to take pride in, one of them is the water they use, the key ingredient for good sake. Identified as one of the most pristine natural waters in Japan, Miyamizu that springs through the rocks of the Rokko mountain range is rich in natural minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and potassium carbonate which blends well with the large grain, soft, premium sake rice home to Hyogo prefecture like Yamadanishiki and Hyogo Yumenishiki another key local ingredient for the brewery.
Today, much of the brewing method has been kept traditional. For example, the brewery still makes all sake koji (mold) by hand, and uses the traditional ceramic rice steamer for dry steaming, which all takes a lot of time and labor. But their motto has always been to only concern themselves with the quality of their sake. At the same time, however, they are able to keep up with current times, due to the young employees that have taken over. They know how to honor tradition and when to stray from it, such as when they abolished the toji (sake brewing master) system and decided to create the best sake they can as a team.
Perhaps it is the reflection of this perfect balance of old and new that translates into the elegant balance that permeates throughout all their Fukuju line, their signature line that has been winning Gold Medals at the International Sake Challenge since 2007. Or maybe it’s luck coming back in full circle, as Fukuju was named after one of the seven gods in the hopes of bringing prosperity to those who drink their sake. Their blessings have come our way too. The fragrant Fukuju Junmai Ginjo, and the rich and complex Fukuju “Mikagego” Junmai, are currently available in the U.S.
Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Brewery
1-8-17 Mikagetsuka, Higashinada, Kobe, Hyogo
TEL: +81-78-841-1121 (shop) TEL: +81-78-841-2612 (restaurant)
3 things you should know about Shu-Shin-Kan Brewery
There are three “kura (houses)” within the brewery, each of which plays a different role; brewing, tourism and restaurant. The Fukuju House is where the artisanal sake-making takes place, combining traditional sake making, and modern concepts. The 5 storied, earthquake proof building is able to resist up to magnitude 7 scale quakes, the first in the industry.
Toumyo House is where one can try the breweries newest brew, as well as try regional cuisines from all around the country that match perfectly with sake. Like the old days, guests can buy sake by weight. This is where you can also hear a brief lecture given by a sake master.
Suimei House, also known as Sakabayashi, is the in-house restaurant that offers fresh local cuisine such as seafood from the Seto Inland Sea and vegetables from the Tanba region that can be savored with the fresh brewed sake from the brewery as a companion. The brewery’s handmade soba (buckwheat) noodles alone are worth a visit.