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Sake from Miyagi - quality, innovation, unique taste

For a long time, sake from Miyagi Prefecture was brewed almost exclusively for the local population and was very difficult to find even in other prefectures. Only now are the breweries opening up more and more to exports, so that lovers in Europe can finally enjoy sake from the region. In general, the sake from Miyagi is gracefully dry and crisp with a clear finish and a nice portion of umami.

There are 25 sake breweries in Miyagi. In 1986, the Miyagi Sake Brewers Association Miyagi declared junmai to be the prefecture's flagship sake. 55 % of Miyagi sake by volume is junmai quality - an extremely high figure compared to the national average of only 22 %. Miyagi sake is considered one of the highest quality in Japan. Currently, about 90% of Miyagi sake is classified as premium sake, which is far above the national average of about 30%. Miyagi sake has also won many awards. That's why it's almost considered a catchphrase in Japan to claim: "No matter what sake you drink in Miyagi, you can't go wrong."

 The great earthquake in 2011 hit Miyagi Prefecture hard. Of the total of 25 breweries in the prefecture, six were completely destroyed, three suffered severe damage and 14 were partially damaged. Due to the widespread destruction, some brewers considered closing their businesses. But thanks to the generous support of Miyagi Prefecture, other organisations and many sake fans, none of the sake breweries had to close. Most of the buildings were rebuilt on the same site. Thanks to the new buildings, many Miyagi breweries now have the latest sake brewing techniques.

 

Discover with us:

Sake from three fantastic craft breweries in Miyag Prefecturei

Kakuboshi

Kakuboshi was founded in 1908 in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture. Several strokes of fate hit the brewery extremely hard: after a major fire in 1929, the buildings were completely destroyed. The following year, the family rebuilt the company headquarters on the same site. Since 2003, Sake Kura has been considered a registered material cultural asset of Japan. In the devastating earthquake in 2011, the ground floor of the building was washed away and the second floor was severely damaged. The brewery was completely rebuilt in May 2016 and is still certified as a nationally registered tangible cultural property. The brewery's sake has won many awards and is considered particularly light and fresh. Its aroma is not too strong and goes particularly well with seafood, the culinary flagship of Miyagi Prefecture. Kakuboshi is a small company with 30 employees, half of whom work in production.

Click here for sake from Kakuboshi!

Sasaki Sake Brewery

Sasaki Shuzoten was founded in 1871 in Natori in the Yuriage district of Miyagi Prefecture. The sake kura is run by two brothers in the fifth generation. While the younger brother is responsible for sake production as Toji, the older one takes care of the entire management and administration of the brewery. Like almost every sake brewery in Miyagi, the devastating tsunami in 2011 hit the Sasaki brewery very hard. The company headquarters building, which was a registered material cultural asset of Japan, was completely destroyed. Fortunately, the production warehouse, located on a slightly elevated area, was spared by the tsunami. The two brothers received support from all over the country to rebuild the brewery. First, a temporary brewery was built in the Natori City Reconstruction Industrial Park to restart production. In 2019, a new sake brewery was built at the old site. With the new brewery, state-of-the-art technology now meets five generations of experience, making Sasaki sake more exciting than ever before. The town of Natori is blessed with the best water from the river of the same name and the Abukuba River. Sasaki uses almost exclusively local rice from Miyagi Prefecture for its sake. 

Here you can find the sake from Sasaki!

Zao Shuzo

Zao Shuzo was founded in 1873 at the foot of the Zao Mountains in the city of Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture. It is the only sake brewery in the city. At the time of its founding, it was a small independent sake shop that produced only 4,500 litres of sake. Today, Zao Shuzo ranks 11th nationwide among Japan's most awarded breweries for their sake. Since its foundation, the brewery has consistently dedicated itself to quality-oriented sake brewing. Only local rice from Miyagi Prefecture is used. Miyama Nishiki and Kura no Hana, special sake rice varieties for the production of premium sake, are grown by farmers in Shiroishi City and the neighbouring town of Kakuda in cooperation with young farmers from the region. The area is blessed with particularly soft water from the Shiroishi River, so ideal conditions for sake production. The sake kasu (sake trub), which is left over from brewing, is used as a fertiliser component for the rice fields, so that sake becomes rice again. 

Another special feature of Zao Shuzo is the average age of its employees. The team is very young, all employees are between 20 and 35 years old. In 2016, a then only 28-year-old toji was hired. The taste of the sake has changed since then. While it used to be very rich in flavour, Zao's sake is now extremely fresh and clear.

Click here for sake from Zao Shuzo!

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