6th Generation Brewer Sato Jumpei's Resume
The Start of "KODAKARA" Liqueurs ("TATENOKAWA" Newspaper 17/03/2014)
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TATENOKAWA, Inc. 6th generation brewer Sato Jumpei here!
The sake lees shochu wasn’t producing the sales we had expected, but we had already invested in the necessary equipment such as pot stills and the saccharification device so there was no turning back now. We had to find a way to make it work. And that’s when we came up with the idea of sake lees shochu made from a base of plum wine.
At that time, as I remember it, about 3 years had passed since plum wine had first started attracting attention in the market so I wouldn’t say we were particularly ahead of the times, but there weren’t yet any breweries making it in the North East of the country including Yamagata Prefecture. It is not like we were trying to cash in on a boom or anything; rather we had to do something about our ailing sake lees shochu business, which we had started as a way to make use of the outside-standards rice and sake lees.
Looking back, I realise that our motives for starting production of liqueurs may have been somewhat impure. However, thinking that we may have found a secondary use for shochu while helping to solve that age old problem facing nearly all sake breweries: what to do about those summer months, and how to improve the operating ratio of the brewery, we plunged into plum wine production.
"But there is the possibility that just like with the shochu, it might not work out"
"What if we make just one tank and see what happens?"
While feeling somewhat conflicted, I obtained a liqueurs license and made our first plum wine, which was to become the start of the “KODARA” liqueur series.
3 months later, the “KODAKARA” PLUM WINE went on sale. In retrospect, we had noticed a gap in the market, something completely different to sake, and taken a very big step forward.
*Photograph Top: Brewing staff pull out the plums from the finished plum wine, filling the brewery with a sweet and sour aroma.
6th Generation Brewer Sato Jumpei