Local Sake Brewed under the Most Beautiful Starry Sky in Japan [Kikunosato Brewery]
Established in 1866, located in Otawara City, Tochigi Prefecture. The area is rich in subterranean water flowing from the Nasu Mountains, and it is known for the water-quality sustaining the delicate fauna such as Ayu (Sweetfishes) and Fireflies.
With the rich soil and clean water combined with the climate of the highland, the area makes a perfect cropland for rice. “Gulp Dry" is produced from this top-quality sake rice grown in the area.
Contract farmers team up and grow reduced pesticide rice
Kikunosato Brewery has collaborated with seven local contract farmers to grow sake rice best conditioned for the “local sake”. Only the locally grown rice is used to brew their products. This is truly "local sake.”
President Akutsu with contract farmers
The kind of rice grown here are mainly "Gohyakuman-goku" and "Miyama Nishiki", both of which are resistant to cold weather.
Their rice grows in a strictly kept reduced chemical environment. Dairy farming is popular in the area, and thus locals produce compost by using fully fermented organic matter from the cows. The compost is then brought to the rice fields supplying the soil with the nutrients. This cycle will keep the soil rich with natural nutrients, and allows them to grow rice with minimum use of agricultural chemicals.
Cows making fertilizer
At first, everyone was reluctant about this as sake rice is difficult to grow due to its heights and no one really believed that we can produce high-quality sake rice. But our mind has changed through the technical guidance they provided, and at the end of the day I found myself obsessed in growing sake rice. “Rice production is Chemistry.” We are now cultivating top-notch sake rice by formulating fertilizer best optimized for the soil.
We are supporting players
Kikunosato Brewery brewing “Daina.”
When Toji (= Head of Brewer) Makoto Akutsu took over the brewery, it was the smallest brewery in the prefecture with an annual production volume of about 10,000 bottles (1.8L equivalent) only, and with limited equipment.
He considered the brewers to be in a position of “supporting players”, and instead the main actor should be the quality of the ingredients. Under this policy, he has started brewing sake in a very flexible and unconventional manner taking in what is good, and the goal was to bring out the very best of the ingredients.
Since the local people were known for a high consumption of sake, the brewery aimed to produce refreshing sake that goes well with meals -- “ultimate sake during meals” that can be drunk continuously. Spent about 10 years to reach a satisfying taste, and now the production volume has increased sevenfold pushing them up to a leading local brewery in the area.
The sake's smooth taste appears as though a reflection of the Toji's good-natured personality. The always cheerful Toji, his families and the four employees happily present “Gulp Dry” for you.
From Head of the brewer
Hobbies: Enjoys salsa and playing golf – got to know both during the travels around the world.
Our sake is made light and smooth, ensured to give you supple taste.
It is good to be served chilled, and also tastes good mildly warmed.
Please enjoy it with Japanese foods and sushi.