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Daishichi Sake Brewery makes tradition modern

The Daishichi Sake Brewery Co., located in the castle town of Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, sits at the foot of majestic Mount Adatara. Daishichi was founded in 1752 by Saburoemon Ohta, who hailed originally from a samurai family. Since then, 10 generations of the Ohta family have overseen the business.

With 260 years of history and developed locally, Daishichi’s sake today has a worldwide appeal. Wine and food specialists from around the world reserve the highest praise for Daishichi because of its exceptional finesse, which balances elegant refinement with a full taste and body. Daishichi has been served at international events, such as the Group of Eight Summit in Toyako, Hokkaido, and has featured at a gala dinner hosted by members of the royal family of the Netherlands. Four times, the brewery has been the sponsor of an award ceremony for Dutch chefs and sommeliers of the influential Gault-Millau restaurant guide, held annually in The Hague. Last year, Daishichi became the first Japanese sake brewery to take part with a one-company booth in Vinexpo, the largest wine show in the world, held every two years in Bordeaux, in the heart of the French wine country. During the show, Daishichi attracted not only tasters and buyers from many nationalities, but also was sought out by Europe’s most distinguished wine makers and sommeliers.

Daishichi truly is an embodiment of excellence by rationally combining the best in tradition with revolutionary modern techniques. Tradition is honored by strictly adhering to an authentic, handcrafted brewing tradition: the kimoto method. All Daishichi’s products are superb examples of kimoto sake. Dating from around 1700, the kimoto method harnesses the power of natural lactic acid bacteria to make a complex sake that is both rich and sophisticated. It is sake with a great depth of flavor that grows and matures over time. An example of modern, cutting-edge technique can be found in the super-flat rice polishing method that is unique to Daishichi. By polishing in the shape of the grain and milling the grain flat in the center, Daishichi is able to overcome the inefficiency of the conventional method. Above all, the super-flat rice polishing method serves to radically remove all elements that can lead to off flavors, resulting in a surprisingly smooth and elegant taste. Daishichi has won many important awards for developing this technique.

Last year, the Daishichi Sake Brewery was affected by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, but was able to overcome any possible negative image to its sake by complete openness about the strict measures it had taken. The brewery was immediately protected by closing all air ducts and windows and installing clean air filters. All ingredients, such as rice and water, have since been checked according to Daishichi’s own standards, which are more severe than those of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Both the rice and the sake are checked at various stages of the brewing process, allowing the company to state with the strongest conviction that its products are completely safe.

Daishichi Sake Brewery uses water from a well inside the company building. Radiation can not penetrate the soil. Even after the Chernobyl meltdown, radioactive elements were not found beyond a few centimeters of depth. The well has no contact with outside water, the company added.

Daishichi’s sake has a unique appeal thanks to its perfect match with a variety of cuisines. Daishichi’s full taste makes it a great accompaniment also for main dishes, meats and dishes with buttery or creamy sauces. For this last case, the lactic acid induced by the kimoto method serves as a bridge. Daishichi therefore is a good match for almost any type of food. The Daishichi Sake Brewery regularly holds dinner parties where a full-course of French food is paired with six or seven different Daishichi sakes. In Japan, such events have been organized with the assistance of Shinya Tasaki, World’s Best Sommelier in 1995 and president of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale. Very recently, a similar dinner was held in Paris together with Michelin 2-star executive chef Eric Briffard of the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Daishichi’s Myokarangyoku Grande Cuvee was served during the toast. The sake is a mix of vintage sake between 1989 and 2004.

All Daishichi products are superb examples of kimoto sake.

Above all else, the company seeks depth of flavor: sake that develops and matures over time, flowering into exceptional quality. Daishichi continues to cherish handcrafted brewing techniques that combine the best of nature’s bounty with the longtime brewery’s expertise and experience.