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Column 2022.10.31

Sake brewing season has arrived!To a sake brewery along the former Hokkoku Highway

With the arrival of late autumn, the sake brewing season is finally in full swing.

Now that air-conditioning facilities are in place, the number of sake breweries working on three seasons and four seasons brewing is increasing, but in the prefecture10This season's sake brewing begins around the month of May, and it seems that the majority of breweries still make sake during the seasons from late autumn to winter and early spring when the temperature is low and the air is clean with snow.

This time, in Nishikan Ward, Niigata CitySasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.I would like to introduce another year of sake brewing and sake brewery while following Shikomi, the shubo, who I visited at.

At Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd., located in Nishikan Ward, Niigata City, along the old Hokkoku Highway, this season10Month4A prayer for brewing safety was held on the day of the day.

Meiji32(1899), Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. is dedicated to Matsuo Okami, the god of sake.

The photo shows the 2017 brewing safety prayer.

“There may not be many breweries that ask temples,” says Ryosuke Sasaguchi, the president. "Because of the Shingon sect, we 'cut the nine characters' to eliminate misfortunes."

It is certainly rare that the curse of drawing grid-like lines in the air with the nine characters Rin, Soldier, Fighting, and so on is used to pray for the safety of sake brewing.

1018On that day, the rice was washed at the beginning of the season, called “Hatsumai”.


On the day I visited for the interview, the sake mother's Shikomi was supposed to be held.The shubo acts like a large cultured starter of healthy yeast that is used when making (hon) Shikomi.Also known as moto, it is the core of sake.

Rice has very little sugar, but the rice koji turns the rice starch into sugar, and the yeast turns the sugar into alcohol.

The rice used at Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co.,Ltd.2019Since XNUMX, all of the ingredients have been grown locally in Niigata City.


At Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd., Toji Yoichi Hatakeyama and brewer Yusuke Ohno are in charge of sake brewing.The president, Mr. Sasaguchi, will also provide support as long as time permits. Work experience at Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.30Takako Honda, who is more than XNUMX years old and knows more about sake breweries than anyone else, also joins in the work at key points.She is the best helper.

a.m.8Time.Weigh the rice that has been washed and drained the previous day to check the water absorption rate.

Carry the rice, move it from the colander to the koshiki, and level it out. “Ohno was in the baseball club, so he's good at playing dragonfly,” Sasaguchi-san said jokingly.Mr. Ohno's tense expression is relieved.

Today, we will prepare the shubo of the representative brand of regular sake “Sasawagi Niigata Mark”, so we will steam the rice “Koshiibuki”.

What is rice used for in sake brewing?2There are types. One is the rice used for shubo and hon Shikomi, and the other is the rice used to make koji.


The rice polishing ratio of the most popular local sake, Niigata Jirushi, is65%.Honjozoshu's rice polishing ratio, which is included in specially designated sake other than regular sake, is70%, so if you just look at the rice polishing ratio, it's polished to the same level as specially designated sake.

At sake breweries in Niigata Prefecture, they do not cut corners on regular sake (futsushu), which is also called everyday sake.The rice is thoroughly polished to create a beautiful taste that each brewery and each product aims for.It must be the pride of a local sake brewery that has been handed down from generation to generation to cherish the sake that the locals look forward to every day.


Shikomi of steamed rice.The steel koshishiki is lifted by the power of the steam, so the four sides are securely fastened with metal fittings.

Shikomis are completed with a shout of "Yoshi".When the rice is covered with steam, cover it with a cloth.

from here about1Time, heat with steam and steam the rice.

During this time, start preparing Shikomi, the shubo.

In the "Karashiba" where the finished koji is dried, about2The rice koji used for Shikomi, the yeast starter, was prepared.

The koji is brought to the Shikomi room and put into a tank filled with water to make “water koji”.

Add paddle and mix well.Always check temperature after work.Temperature control is important for sake brewing.

And clean up after work.Cleaning and washing dishes to maintain cleanliness occupies a large part of the work time of sake brewing.


Mr. Ohno is assembling the filtration machine that will be used for the filtration work that is planned after Shikomi, the yeast starter.This filter is a small type.Layer the net, filter and frame in order.

“Filtration” is one of the finishing operations after squeezing sake.Unfiltered sake is called unfiltered sake.

Ohno is from Niigata City.Brewing history8Year.After graduating from a university in Kansai, he worked in a different industry and worked in Osaka, where he fell in love with sake.within the prefecture2Since last season, he has been working at Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. under the guidance of Toji Hatakeyama.

Mr. Hatakeyama washed the colander that had rice in it.Work continues without rest.

Mr. Honda prepares a cloth to carry the steamed rice.

It was inflated with steam.


After making mizukoji, about20After a minute, add lactic acid and yeast.

Lactic acid on the left, yeast on the right.

“First, lactic acid is added for sterilization, and then yeast is added,” says Hatakeyama.

The yeast used for “Niigata Mark” isseries(Sthree).This yeast was developed by Mr. Tadao Hiroi, a doctor of agriculture and former director of the Niigata Prefectual Sake Research Institute.

After serving as the head of the Prefectural Examination Center, Mr. Hiroi worked as a10“Echigo Shugakukai” (1990~2004XNUMX) served as an advisor. He also received instruction from the basics to advanced techniques at Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.

Put in a paddle, stir well, measure the temperature, and finish the work.It's time to steam the rice.


After adding rice, about1Time, remove the cloth and dig out the steamed rice.

While checking the steaming condition by hand, the steamed rice is sent to the cooling machine.To check how well the rice is steamed, take a handful of rice, crush it with your hands, and knead it.

This is "twist rice cake".

Mr. Hatakeyama checks the temperature of the rice in the cooling machine.

When the amount is large, it is sent to the Shikomi room with an air shooter, but today the amount is small, so it is wrapped in cloth and carried by hand.


Steamed rice is put into the shubo tank in the Shikomi room.

Add paddles and mix well to evenly mix.

After measuring the amount and measuring the temperature, the sake starter Shikomi is finished.

The tank serves as a memo board.

Shubo with whom Shikomi ended. On the 12th day from Shikomi, she plans to have the first Shikomi of Hon Shikomi. Shikomi is performed in three parts: garnish, naka, and tome.

On the next day, add a "dance" for Shikomi to rest.By resting, the environment for yeast to be easily cultivated is prepared.

After the final shikomi, depending on the type of sake, it will go through the fermentation mash period of 20 to 30 days before squeezing.During that time, the chief brewer and brewer repeat temperature measurement and component analysis, and decide the timing of squeezing while looking at the expression of the fermentation mash.Whether or not you can make an accurate judgment determines the taste of sake.

At sake breweries, the process of finishing the last Shikomi of the season is called “Koshiki-toshi.”

Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.'s "Koshiki" is said to be around March next year.


After the shubo shikomi is finished, they immediately return to the steaming room and start cleaning the koshiki.

Wash cloths and utensils with hot water similar to that used when steaming rice.There is no waste in the work of sake brewing.



After cleaning up, take a break at 10:XNUMX.

The space where the brewers rest is called Hiroshiki. Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. calls it "Iba".The words that are used only in sake breweries can be said to be one of the important sake cultures.



After taking a break, Mr. Hatakeyama starts filtering.

"Habataki" that I trained last season21It's the finishing touches of the century.

It is a Honjozo class sake that uses ``Gohyakumangoku'' and ``Yuki no Sei'' and is sold only at local sake stores until the end of the year.


Mr. Hatakeyama tastes filtered sake.Smell first, then taste.

Mr. Hatakeyama attended Niigata Sake School4Freshman.Synchronization is20People, before the corona disaster, it was a year1It seems that they had a class reunion once.He has a sync of active and former toji.

The president, Mr. Sasaguchi, is also a graduate of sake school.The Niigata Sake School supports Niigata's sake brewing technology and network.

Mr. Ohno, a brewer, says, "I'm happy when customers tell me, 'It's delicious.'He himself likes hot sake, and he especially likes hot sake that is more than 'bikirikan'. "It goes well with any dish."

"I'd like to make a delicious hot sake," he said with a twinkle in his eye.


Since XNUMX, Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co.,Ltd.1We are doing Initiatives of "Challenge Brew" to prepare books.

We took a break last season, but we're back this season!It seems that the details cannot be disclosed, but Mr. Sasaguchi says, "Is it a sweet sake, a dessert-like sake?"

It looks like this season will also be a “fun” sake that incorporates various ideas and playfulness.Let's hope.

Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. plans to start a new business for next spring.

“We haven’t decided on an official name yet, but we are thinking of creating an experience-based facility like 'Sasaiwai Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.'s Koji Kitchen,'” says Mr. Sasaguchi.The current store space will be renovated to create a space that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.


Breweries such as sake, wine, and beer are dotted along Hokkoku Kaido from Nishi Ward to Nishikan Ward in Niigata Nishi WardTakano Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.However, preparations for an open factory are underway for next spring.I would like to pay attention to the Initiatives of each sake brewery and take a sake tour along the highway.


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