::: People :::
Brewing sake is also developing human resource. In each brewery, Toji develop their brewers, and they compete with each other for their skills and the feature of sake for the best quality.
-Preserving the tradition of Sannai Toji, we succeed to the skill of Akita low temperature method-
Snow country Akita, the end of Meiji era (1900), farmers started brewing sake as their works during winter. In order to make a living, they kept challenging to brew sake so many times and then, they became known all over Japan as Sannai Toji who have great brewing skills. The method which has been passed down among them is “Akita low temperature method”. This method was invented by “Masatsune Hanaoka” who is said “the father of Akita sake brewing”, and this is called low temperature and long fermentation method. By suppressing maximum temperature of Moromi (main mash) and fermenting slowly, sake taste has rich flavor and roundness, and these are the characteristics of Akita sake. There is a method generated from the natural feature, and there are people who pass it down till now. Takashimizu preserves the traditional Akita’s brewing method at both of two breweries with the respect for the nature and the spirit of predecessors.
With the skilled experience of Sannai Toji and the harmony of brewers. They succeed to the traditional method-
This brewery is built at the original place of establishment of Takashimizu. Tadashi Kikuchi, our 5th Toji, is working on the sake brewing which being inherited the traditional Akita low temperature method. “Brewing sake loved by everyone” is his wish and he is trying to make the friendly-taste sake. From the freezing severe winter morning, brewers start their works. All brewers are members of Sannai-Toji association. Every year, from Novemeber till March, they live together in the dormitory located next to the brewery. They keeping harmony with others in mind, and preserve the traditional method sometimes stubbornly, because of having proud to make “Jizake” (local sake) which is loved by Akita’s people. Everyone is strict with themselves, but affectionate with sake. They aim for comfortable sake being able to reach people’s hearts by their best teamwork. In this brewery, Honjozo and Futsu-shu are mainly brewed.
Small numbers, but high-skilled young brewers. Collaboration of high-technology and traditional method create a great quality-
Goshono Brewery was established in 1998, with advanced high-tech machines. Brewmaster, Hitoshi Kato, who is affectionately called “Boss” by others is diligent in brewing with skilled young brewers. Brewing sake needs a strict temperature control with a careful consideration for slight action of microorganisms. Here in Goshono, latest technology controls temperature and sanitation perfectly. On the other hand, brewers learn a traditional method such as Koji making with Koji-buta (traditional tool). Beyond the systematic roles, each brewer handles multiple tasks. We aim for the brewing of new age which is a fusion of the high-tech method and traditional skill. Not only moromi making, but storing temperature is also precisely checked, and this is the “Goshono-style” which manages high quality environment for brewing and brews in small batch. Lots of premium sake and next generation sake have been developed in this brewery.
- *Role of brewmaster
- Toji is a brewmaster. They have not only lots of knowledge and skilled experiences of brewing, but also a lot of affection for sake and the ability of judging and managing in brewing site. Moreover, Toji leads other brewers with careful consideration of harmony.
Currently, thanks to the computer technology, many things can be done accurately; however, the most important things which have an influence on the result of completed sake have never been changed; That is experience and sense of Toji.
- *Sannai Toji
- The hometown of Sannai-Toji is located in Sannai-area, Yokote-city, Akita. This area has only less than 5,000 people, but has produced many skilled-Toji. Among Toji groups in Tohoku region, they are considered as one of the top Toji groups.
They formed “Sannai Toji Training Association” during Taisho period(1912-1926) when sake brewing technology developed nationally. For developing brewing skills and human resources, and corresponding to new era, they formed this assosiation promptly at that time. Now the name was changed to “Sannai Toji Association” and it consists of 215 members. Out of them, 36 members are brewmaster (As for 2006). Every August, they hold a brewing workshop for improving members’ brewing skills.