6th Generation Brewer Sato Jumpei's Resume
Start of a New Step ("TATENOKAWA" Newspaper 12/12/2013)
Thank you for your continued support.
TATENOKAWA,Inc. 6th generation brewer Sato Jumpei here!
In this issue I would like to return to a sake related subject.
A few issues back, I wrote about the sort of problems that accompany contracted farming like outside-standards rice; and making use of leftover sake lees to make shochu, thus providing work in the summer months. I would like to tell you the whole story in more detail.
Every year, just before the Obon holiday season, I meet up with the farmers that produce our sake rice varietals Miyama Nishiki and Dewasansan, and survey their fields and exchange information. One thing they often tell me is that the agricultural industry is very different to how it once was: the price of rice has fallen to the extent that it has become very difficult to make a living.
It goes without saying that for the farmers that make our rice, agriculture is their principal occupation so going forward they should be okay; I think the point they were trying to make is that agriculture is having a hard time in general.
Hearing the extent to which agriculture is struggling got me thinking as to whether there was anything that my company could do to make the situation better.
In amongst those thoughts, I had a brainwave to turn the outside-standards rice into koji, from which sake could be made that would produce as its bi-product the key ingredients to make shochu: rice flour and sake lees.
By utilising the outside-standards rice and sake lees in this way I was able to add to the income of the farmers and provide work for the brewery in the summer months.
As a result, TATENOKAWA, Inc., a company that up until that point had never positively tried its hand at anything other than sake, had started to make shochu and helped to support the farmers in the process.
Thinking back now, for a brewery that had come all this way on sake alone, going into shochu production was like taking small steps down a new path.
6th Generation Brewer Sato Jumpei