Toyama brewery keeping Kaganoi sake alive till gutted Niigata base rebuilt

Staff Report, Kyodo

Niigata Prefecture’s oldest sake brewery was reduced to ashes in December by a major fire but will continue operations this year at another facility in Toyama Prefecture, the Ginban brewery said.

Ginban President Bungo Tanaka is also president of the gutted Kaganoi brewery, which was based in Itoigawa and dated back to 1650.

Ginban, based in Kurobe, will let Kaganoi make sake at its own brewery and even plans to dispatch its own workers to Niigata to help clean up the rubble at Kaganoi, a Ginban official said.

“We will work as one with brewery workers to rebuild the brewery,” Tanaka said in a statement on Ginban’s website.

The Kaganoi brewery was engulfed in a Dec. 22 fire that burned down 40,000 sq. meters of the city, roughly the same area occupied by Tokyo Dome. The oldest in Niigata Prefecture stood about 150 meters from the ramen shop where the fire started.

Eleven people were injured and hundreds were forced to evacuate, but no one died.

On Dec. 23, the day after the fire broke out, many people thronged to a shop representing Niigata and its products in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward to buy Kaganoi’s sake to help the brewery and had snapped up 300 bottles of it by the next day.

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