Yamatogawa Sake Brewery

Safety and security starts with energy production
Making sake brewing sustainable

By Emotion

2021.6.9

hello! Please be careful as there is water at your feet.

In the warehouse Average age is in the early 30s As a sake brewery with a history of about 230 years, I saw many times the cheerful greetings and smiling eyes of a young brewer.

The light that illuminates behind their eyes, and the reason for this, will become clear when we talk to Mr. Masakazu Sato, managing director of Yamatogawa Sake Brewery.

Local rice, local water, local technology, and local energy

Yamatogawa Sake Brewery, founded in 1790 (Kansei 2nd year) in the middle of the Edo period, is located in Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture. Sake brewery that lasts for about 230 years and lasts for 9 generations is.

The land of Kitakata faces Mt. Iide, which holds icecaps in the northwest, and is said to be a "Kura no Machi" where industries such as rice, miso, soy sauce, and sake are flourishing, utilizing the abundant underground water. It is

The aim is to brew sake with local energy using local rice, local water, local technology (people), and renewable energy.

I can feel the strength of the core of the words, not just a picture of the sky, but the steps taken so far and the way forward to realize it.

In front of Iitoyozo, from the left, Mr. Shino Sato and Mr. Masakazu Sato, managing director.

Local rice: Make rice in-house and polish it

With the goal of local production for local consumption, I want to make products responsibly from 1 to 10 with my own hands With that in mind, we established an agricultural corporation in 2007 and started making sake rice ourselves in Kitakata City.

In addition, we will polish the rice in-house so that we can flexibly decide which sake to use according to the condition of the rice.

Fully automatic rice milling machine for brewing

Yamatogawa Sake Brewery brews about 1500 stones (270 ㎘) of sake annually, and now it seems that 50% to 60% of that sake can be made with its own rice. There are very few sake breweries in Japan that make sake rice, polish rice, and make sake on this scale. is.

Ground water: Use plenty of soft melted snow from Mt. Iide

The water used to grow rice and the water used to prepare sake are soft water and low in minerals. Smooth and soft, meltwater from the local Mt. Iide To use.

Speaking of Kitakata, Kitakata ramen and morning ramen are also famous, but "The reason why Kitakata ramen is delicious and you don't want to eat it from the morning is because it uses the soft water of Mt. Iide like sake," says Mr. Sato. Says.

The Oshikiri River, whose water source is the Iide Mountains, which flows beside Iidezo

Earth skill (people): Sustainable environment where brewers can work lively

Speaking of sake brewing, we can talk about late-night work and overnight work, but I think that few people like it nowadays.

That's what it's better to leave to the machine. For example, temperature control. In the past, it was difficult for people to work late at night and stay overnight, but by leaving it to the machine, it has become possible to make sake at a more appropriate temperature.

As a result, the brewers are able to work in a way that suits the times, and they have been working vigorously since the morning.

Says Masakazu. In fact, Masakazu's younger brother, Mori's Sato Nobuno, was as young as 36 years old and took over the role of Mori seven years ago from his uncle, President Kazunori Sato.

Never get tired of working late at night Above all, I like sake, and an environment where I can search for more delicious sake and new sake. However, the light was lit in the eyes of the brewer.

Steamed rice to a conveyor belt. It is the hardest labor in sake brewing.

Why young Mori can make delicious sake

By the way, is it okay to be such a young Mori? You might think, but that's the great thing about Fukushima Prefecture.

We have been running a sake academy in the prefecture for about 30 years, and brought in the know-how of sake brewing, which was a secret for each sake brewery. I have been teaching the history of sake for 3 years and nurturing successors.

A virtuous cycle has been created in which seniors and juniors work hard at the academy, improve the quality of sake, and think about new sake.

As a result, in Fukushima prefecture, young Mori in his thirties were born in various breweries, and in Fukushima prefecture, he competed for the quality of sake at the National New Sake Appraisal. The number of gold awards received is the highest in Japan for eight consecutive times The more you break the record (excluding the 19th sake brewing year when the final examination was canceled), the more youthful ability to make delicious sake is growing.

Earth energy: Safe and secure energy that can be seen by the creator

When the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima nuclear power plant occurred, I suddenly noticed it. Rice, water, and people have come to be able to see the makers and provide safe and secure products. Where did you buy the electricity? When. I swallowed the word "safety and security" and left it to others.

Says the current chairman, Yaemon Sato, the 9th generation.

Since then, sake brewing using renewable energy, and Aiming to brew sake with the electricity generated by ourselves Efforts have begun.

We started with solar power generation on the roof of the warehouse and have not yet realized it, but we are aware of issues such as whether we can operate a boiler with cleaner energy than heavy oil and how to generate stable power with natural energy. We are proceeding with the examination.

Solar power generation panel on the roof of Iitoyozo

Fortunately, there was no direct effect such as collapse, and although the effect of radiation was a problem as a result of the inspection, the past 10 years suffered from reputational damage just because it was Fukushima sake. The importance of connecting with people and the community, such as old fans I say that I felt it again.

Sake that extends the idea of safety and security to energy. Sustainable sake brewing begins with Yamatogawa Sake Brewery.