Brewing of local ‘Goryo’ sake begins for first time in half a century in Hakodate

On December 13, the Kamikawa Taisetsu Sake Brewery (Kamikawa, northern Hokkaido) began brewing its first batch of local sake, “Goryo-no-kura” for the first time in 54 years, at its newly completed brewery in Kameo-cho in the city of Hakodate. The first batch of the sake will be completed at the beginning of January and be available for sale in late January.

On the day brewing began, the company’s chief brewer, Kawabata Shinji and four other brewers began prepared 182 kg of ‘Suisei’ (comet) sake rice, grown by farmers in the same Kameo-cho district. After steaming the rice in a steamer known as a ‘koshiki’ and then loosening it a little by hand until it was room temperature, they then put it into the brewing tank and carefully stirred it with a long oar.

After being fermenting for approximately 25 days, the unrefined sake is strained and the alcohol content is adjusted before being bottled. “We were able to resume sake brewing after more than half a century of not brewing local sake in Hakodate. The rice is in better condition than we expected, and we hope to make a delicious sake that people can’t help drinking and that complements the seafood of southern Hokkaido,” said Kawabata.

Hakodate Goryo-no-kura (Hakodate) will be responsible for the sale of the sake, and will make the first shipment of 3,000 bottles of ‘Suisei Junmai-shu’ in late January. The sake will be on sale at major liquor stores in Hakodate and other cities.

In the future, Kamikawa Taisetsu Sake Brewery plans to brew several types of local sake, including special Junmai and Junmai Daiginjo, using sake rice produced in the same district of Hakodate, and other regions of Hokkaido.

Chief brewer Kawabata (right) carefully loosens the steamed rice as brewing of local sake in Hakodate begins for the first time in half a century