The powerful New Year's Day earthquake that ravaged a remote central Japan region has left its famed, centuries-old sake-making industry facing the danger of losing some of the craftsmanship it has nurtured to produce quality brands.

All the 11 main sake brewers in the northern part of the Noto Peninsula were severely affected by the magnitude 7.6 quake and have been forced to suspend their operations for at least a year — with their futures left uncertain, particularly for five that saw their breweries completely destroyed.

A local industry group that these manufacturers belong to has started to solicit donations for them given the dire situation caused by the quake, which has left more than 230 people dead. The owner of one of the breweries said he has no choice but to "continue squeaking out a living" with no hope of rebuilding anytime soon.