Constant Evolution, Infinite Ideas (Tuesday, November 1st, 2011)
Miyazaki Honten Co., Ltd.
A serene environment at the foot of the Suzuka Mountains in Mie Prefecture is the home of Miyazaki Honten. Established in the late Edo Period in 1846, the brewery has been pursuing genuine sake taste under the company philosophy “Quality First.”
What’s particularly unique about this brewery is that it is certified to produce a variety of categories of products, not limited only to sake. They can also produce otsu-rui (honkaku) shochu, ko-rui shochu, liqueur, whiskey and mirin (sweet seasoning sake). This gives them the freedom to create totally original drinks and products without being bound by any rules. They do things like mixing sake and shochu to create a unique liqueur, and blending honkaku shochu and ko-rui shochu to get light, aromatic shochu. Mr. Yoshiyuki Miyazaki, the 6th generation president of Miyazaki Honten, explains, “When a company loses its innovative mind, that’s the beginning of its decline. We have maintained our innovative spirit ever since the company’s establishment, so we never lack fresh ideas or creativity.”
Staying close to the local community is another feature of the brewery. Take their flagship product, Miyanoyuki as an example. This junmai daiginjo sake is made from locally grown Yamadanishiki rice, extremely soft, high-quality ground water from the Suzuka Mountains, the brewer’s original (patented) kobo yeast and house-made koji mold. “We contract with local farmers to receive premium ingredients which are perfectly traceable. We aim to sell sake which reflects our regional features on the global market,” says Mr. Miyazaki.
The brewery’s products, including Miyanoyuki, have been awarded prizes by the Monde Selection for 28 consecutive years. Out of their excellent selections, the Miyanoyuki, rice shochu Tokinokokuin and barley shochu Kusu are currently available in the U.S. By the end of the year, the light-tasting, ko-rui shochu, Kinmiya will join the list. Kinmiya has become exceptionally popular in Japan over the past few years and its sales have significantly grown. New York will soon understand what the fanfare is all about.
Miyazaki Honten Co., Ltd.
972 Minami-Gomizuka, Kusu-machi,
Yokkaichi, Mie 510-0104 JAPAN
Three things you should know about Miyazaki Honten Co., Ltd.
1. Miyazaki Honten brews sake in buildings that have been handed down over the years. Some of the well-maintained sake brewing facilities were built during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). In 1996, six of their traditional properties, including their storehouse, were registered as National Cultural Properties. The storehouse, constructed in 1921, is now used as an exhibition hall and for tasting and sales, where visitors can enjoy the retrospective feel as they sample sake and shochu brewed there.
2. With the belief that constant evolution prevents the company from stagnating, Miyazaki Honten introduces new products to the market. Developing original yeast, employing new environment management and quality control systems, and renovating facilities are just a few examples of this. This corporate culture is the source of Miyazaki Honten’s creativity.
3. In addition to brewing sake, Miyazaki Honten is certified to produce multiple categories of products, such as otsu-rui (honkaku) shochu, ko-rui shochu, whiskey, liqueur, and mirin. This wide variety of offerings enables them to fully use their creativity and create products that satisfy trends and consumer needs. Veteran Nanbu style brewmaster Kinichiro Kawamura is the helm of new flavor of Miyazaki Honten.