Brewing Sake that Brings Joy (Monday, August 1st, 2011)
Asabiraki Co., Ltd.
Since 1871, Asabiraki Co.,Ltd. has brewed sake in the city of Morioka in Iwate Prefecture, known for bitter cold winters. There, three pristine rivers flow, and inside the city, two springs were selected for the Meisui Hyakusen (100 Greatest Waters of Japan). The abundance of excellent water makes this the perfect place for brewing sake. Under the guidance of Nanbu-style brewmaster, Masahiko Fujio, who was selected for the Gendai no Meikou (Modern Master Craftsmen), Asabiraki crafts Nanbu-style, smooth, refreshing, and full-flavored sake from local Japanese rice, pristine spring water and original kobo yeast. With the goal of “providing joy and happiness to all customers wherever they eat”, Asabiraki strives to craft sake that can be enjoyed with any food. As times change, people’s taste preferences and eating styles change as well, and these days sake is enjoyed throughout the world. So Asabiraki brews sake that can be paired with various types of foods by combining tradition with new flavors and styles.
There are seven types of sake from Asabiraki that are available in America: The best selling, Junmai Okarakuchi Suijin which features an incredible balance of lightness and bold flavor; four more premium sakes, Gokuho Junmai Daiginjo Kyokusen, Junmai SAMURAI BLADE, Nanbu-ryu Junmaishu, and Junmai Nigori Yukiwatari; and finally, Ume Kanon, the plum wine with a junmai sake base, and Tonyu No Sake, the first sake in the world to be made from soymilk.
Iwate Prefecture suffered severe damage due to the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th and since then residents have been forced to live in austere conditions. In order to help the people ride out these tough times, Asabiraki is donating a portion of its profits. This year, Asabiraki is particularly enthusiastic about brewing delicious sake in hopes that it will be enjoyed by as many people as possible. Through these efforts the brewery will grow and thrive and ultimately aid Iwate Prefecture in a speedy recovery. At the same time Asabiraki is striving to bring the taste of authentic sake overseas.
Asabiraki Co., Ltd.
10-34 Daijiji, Morioka-shi, Iwate
Three things you should know about Asabiraki
1. Popular Brewery Tours
Equipped with both a by-hand assembly line and a computerized assembly line, the Showa Asahi Brewery is a landmark that has won the Morioka City Sight Seeing Award. Many tourists come each year to witness the Nanbu-style brewing process. Old wooden casks that were retired over half a century ago have been restored and are being used to brew sake which is available for purchase. At the local sake gift shop, you can enjoy free samples while you shop for local products.
2. Multi-national Restaurant “Stella Monte”
Inside the brewery site, at the international restaurant “Stella Monte”, you can enjoy Asian and pasta-based Western cuisines paired with sake. With the goal of demonstrating that sake can be paired with all types of foods from around the world, the restaurant refrains from serving Japanese food. You can also enjoy craft beer from the in-house beer brewery.
3. Sake that Has Won Multiple Awards
Asabiraki’s brewmaster Masahiko Fujio is the preeminent brewmaster of Nanbu-style brewing. Under his guidance, Asabiraki has been brewing sake using local rice from Iwate Prefecute, pristine spring water, and original kobo yeast. At the Zenkoku Shinshu Kanpyou Kai, Japan’s biggest sake award competition, Asabiraki has won awards in 20 consecutive events, 16 of those were gold awards.