Otaru’s Tanaka Brewing Co. carries out ‘shizuku-dori’ process to make new high-quality sake

The ‘shizuku-dori’ work being carried out at Tanaka’s Kikkogura brewery

Tanaka Sake Brewing Co., Ltd., a long-established sake brewery in Otaru, has been making a new batch of top-quality sake to be entered in a sake contest. Work took place on February 19 and March 5, when a process known as ‘shizuku-dori’ – in which a cotton bag containing the mash is suspended to allow the sake to drip out – was carried out at the Kikkogura brewery.

This is the best time of the year to make new high-quality sake. The mash is made from rice that has been polished to a rate of 35% and fermented at a temperature of no more than 10 degrees Celsius for about a month, from mid-January. In one part of the process, the mash was put into 15-liter bags, and a total of 40 bags were hung on a wooden pole over a tank, into which the sake was allowed to drip.

 The protein and fat contained in the surface layer of the rice were scraped away to remove any unwanted flavors, in a laborious and time-consuming process that makes the sake more aromatic. According to managing director Okada, “It has a fruity and refreshing taste.”

 The new sake will be entered into sake contests in Hokkaido and beyond. In April it will be sold as ‘Junmai Daiginjo Shizuku Tobindori Takaragawa’ (11,000 yen for a 720 ml bottle) at the Kikkogura brewery, the main store and via the online shop.


Tanaka’s Kikkogura brewery