Daishichi’s Sake-Making Ideals

1.The ideals of sake making

Universal values in the brewing of superior drinks

When talking about sake, it means nothing to say: "Yamada Nishiki rice, the perfect ingredient for sake brewing, was polished to X% to create this sake". Unlike wine, where the elements of the grapes almost completely define the flavour, Japanese sake does not depend solely on raw ingredients for flavour. A large degree of freedom has always remained with the makers, and they determine the flavour.

The key point is the personality of the drink; Japanese sake is a distillation of its brewers' ambitions.

Daishichi prizes sake that embodies certain universal values for a brewed alcoholic drink:

1. A balance of power and refinement in its depth of flavour
2. A drink that matures over time
3. A drink that distils human expertise and knowledge

These values are shared by the most prized alcoholic drinks around the globe. At Daishichi, our aim is to win recognition for kimoto sake as the best Japanese sake of all. And our mission is to share that pleasure with the world.

2. From the forest of micro-organisms

Traditional kimoto brewing

"Sake used to be made in forests of micro-organisms. But then people began removing the trees that seemed to be lacking in some way."
"Technology that scientifically pursues the rational does not always make a lasting impact."

"The more simple and pure something is, the easier it is to control. But surely people love complexity, harmony and individuality."

These are the words of highly esteemed sake connoisseurs Usuke Asai (deceased) and Shuji Yoshida in Dialogues: Ways to View Sake.

Rationalising and economising alter the environment in which the brewing process takes place, inevitably resulting in changes to the ecosystem of micro-organisms. Simply removing what is known as the yamaoroshi step makes it impossible for the complex of microbes to remain the same from the beginning.

The soul of the kimoto method is its focus on "the best". The flavour must be mellow but rich. It must be perfectly blended, with no acidity or coarseness to bother the taster. That is the sake to which we aspire at Daishichi.

Nurturing a glorious "forest of micro-organisms" takes time and commitment. The process can sometimes bear unexpected, wonderful fruit. For example, the world’s first lactic acid bacteria to possess an acidic arginase enzyme was discovered in our brewery. (To learn more about the amazing workings of this enzyme, please see "Kimoto Brewing Compendium-The Secrets of Kimoto".) Such micro-organisms cannot be produced artificially. They are like gifts from nature, rewarding many years of human effort.

Reviving the use of wooden tubs for brewing and using completely organic sake rice are both extensions of this way of thinking. We wish to create truly rich sake from "forests of micro-organisms".

3. The latent potential of the raw material

Super-flat rice polishing

Daishichi has two policies about rice, sake’s basic ingredient. The first is to select high-quality, perfectly ripe and even grains with as few defects as possible. The second is to limit the number of varieties to the absolute minimum. We insist on the highest grade available, and the grains undergo a second sorting at Daishichi. In order to maintain a steady supply of top-quality steamed rice, we are very wary about increasing the number of rice varieties used.

In order to draw out the full potential of this basic ingredient, Daishichi invented the "super-flat" rice polishing technique. This is the ultimate achievement in the craft of rice polishing. As well as earning our polishing engineers numerous prestigious awards including that of Fukushima Master Craftsman, this technology has refined the kimoto method to an unprecedented degree, making it possible to bring out the full potential of the raw rice.

Our favourite motto is "Made from nothing but rice", so the additional alcohol used in all our sakes, other than junmai sake (which requires nothing extra), is rice alcohol.

4. The aesthetics of flavour

From Japan to the world

Kimoto sake has depth and richness of flavour that resonates with a variety of delicious cuisines. Its sheer quality gives it the power to stand up to oily dishes that generally overpower ordinary Japanese sake, and it has a special quality that allows it to mature and grow over time. A sake intended to be drunk warm, it provides boundless pleasure when heated. It is simply the best quality sake in the world.

The range of dishes that kimoto sake can complement deserves special mention. Our sake has received accolades from chefs at French restaurants with the coveted three Michelin stars. It is also highly praised by influential connoisseurs around the world.

To be feted by the world, a sake must come to life at a meal. It must balance power, rich flavour and refinement, containing complexity within its harmony. That is the distinctive character of the best kimoto sake. And we believe Japan's best kimoto sake makers share certain values with the world's best winemakers.

The individuality that can only be found in a Daishichi, the true quality that can only be achieved through the kimoto method.... The secret lies in a tactile, almost sensual subtlety and richness. The superficial fragrance and flavour can be copied, but the texture of Daishichi simply cannot be reproduced by any sake manufactured using simpler methods.

5. The perpetual womb

Clear ideas and attention to detail

To celebrate its 250th anniversary, Daishichi built new company premises. A sake brewery must be an ecosystem in its own right, one in which a microbial culture consisting of a huge variety of micro-organisms is protected and cultivated. It must become a perpetual womb, consistently nurturing sake of a distinctive character. For that reason, three basic rules were laid down before construction began.

First, the underground aquifer must be protected. Second, the central brewing facility must be left as it is in order to protect the microbial ecosystem. Third, the new brewery must be as robust as possible in order to last for generations.

This brewery is a culmination of Daishichi’s ideals. Fermented alcohol should never be left abandoned and untended, nor should the caress of time be hindered by excessive refrigeration. We do not believe that the true aesthetic of brewing is to be found by rejecting maturity and constantly pursuing the freshness of young sake. Instead, Daishichi strives for sake that stands the test of time, sake so balanced and robust that rather than degrading over time, it ripens and blossoms.

Daishichi’s ideals extend to the recently developed bottling line. The aim here was not preserving short-lived freshness, but stabilising long-term quality. The result was the installation of a highly innovative next-generation anoxic bottling line.

Have clear ideals and focus all technological improvement on upholding those ideals. Above all, be thorough. Concentrate on the principle, focus all faculties on one goal, set high standards, and never waver. Daishichi sees this as the passport to a world-class reputation.


1-66 Takeda, Nihonmatsu,
Fukushima 964-0902, JAPAN
FAX +81 243-23-0008

We welcome your inquiries in either English or Japanese.