This special event is designed to bring our customers and the breweries that we represent closer together. Every month, on a random basis, we invite representatives from the breweries to come to the bars and share a toast of their sake with everyone. As well as hearing the passion that goes into sake direct from the craftsman/woman, you can also try sakes that have been prepared exclusively for the event. It all adds up to an extremely special event, not the sort that you can experience everyday.
The Allure of Drinking Sake with the Brewer
“Sake tastes all the more delicious when you drink it knowing who made it and why”.
This is the KURAND concept. To ‘Share a toast with a brewer!’ is to experience sake at the same level, to hear stories that normally don’t get heard outside the four walls of the brewery, and to ask questions. Even your average tasting event does not bring you this close.
For the brewers themselves, this event represents an opportunity to gather feedback about their sake direct from the customer, feedback that leads to quality improvement in the future.
We have added the above calendar so that you can find out when and where the breweries are going to be, to enable you to plan ahead.
Introducing the Breweries Visiting in July
This where we introduce the breweries who have taken time out of their business trip to Tokyo to pop over to our 4 branches in Ikebukuro, Asakusa Shibuya and Shinjuku and spend time with everyone.
The event calendar shows you when and where the breweries will appear.
Asahitsuru (Chiba Prefecture)
Asahitsuru is a family brewery in Chiba Prefecture’s Sakura City. The brewing is headed by female master brewer Tanaka Motoko. Situated just an hour from the capital, the brewery runs tours offering the chance to experience a classic brewing atmosphere surrounded by the Yasaka Shrine forests and the rural landscape of the River Kashima. The blessing of the four seasons, rice, and water from a sacred tree gives birth to fragrant beautiful sake that ferments the hearts of the brewer and the surrounding nature. The characteristic of rich dry sake is a sake that is robust with a clean aftertaste. They brew if only but to hear you say that their sake is delicious.
Takizawa Brewery (Saitama Prefecture))
Established in 1863, originally based in Kogawa Town, Saitama, but later moved to Fukaya City in 1900s to get better access to the location’s water and benefits. From the beginning, the focus has been on quality so they use only the traditional small box koji production method. The inner sanctum of sake brewing, the koji room, is made from Fukaya red brick, the same brick used in Tokyo Station. In a historical building, with a traditional production, in just the last few years, they have received high acclaim: national sake championships gold 4 years in a row, IWC gold medal two years in a row. A strong brewery in Saitama that cares about the future of sake.
Hasegawa Brewery (Niigata Prefecture)
Established in 1842, Hasegawa Brewery has carved over 170 years of brewing in Settaya, in Niigata Prefecture’s Nagaoka City. Settaya is a charming town with a popular miso, sake and soy sauce production that dates as far back as the Edo Period, and counts 5 breweries that are registered as tangible cultural properties. As one of the breweries that were built in the Edo and Taisei Periods, they brew the sake by hand, in the traditional way using properly maintained antique tools and small Daiginjo purpose tanks to produce a savoury flavour that extracts the best from the rice. A sake that compliments food and brings the whole table to life.
Umeda Brewery (Hiroshima Prefecture)
Established in 1916, Umeda Brewery is located in Hiroshima City’s Eastern quarter. They brew using special rice for brewing grown in Hiroshima, soft water from an underground river that originates in the mountains behind the brewery and ginjo yeast developed at Hiroshima Prefecture’s research institute. Based on the ethos that sake should be enjoyed by people who are not experts about sake, are not used to sake, their sake is smooth with a gorgeous aroma and mellow flavour.
Takarayama Brewery (Niigata Prefecture)
Takarayama Brewery is a small brewery that began life in 1885 as regional sake to Iwamuro Onsen,a well-known 300 year old inner parlour in Niigata. In the frozen lands of Echigo, with “harmony among people” as their motto, a team of three including the master cherish every single drop of the brewing process. In a little plot at the back of the brewery the staff grow the variety of sake rice that was developed in Niigata: Echigo Tanrei. From this year, master brewer Watanabe Keita who completed his training in a brewery outside the prefecture joins the team and takes over the reins from 78 year old master Mr. Aoyagi. A new wind is blowing at this brewery.
Ishii Brewery (Saitama Prefecture)
Ishii Brewery was established in 1840. The brewery was set up at the crossroads of the Onari and Nikko highways, at the time a bustling inn town. The brewery owner Mr. Ishii and master brewer Mr.Wakuta, both in their 20’s, makeup the youngest partnership in the industry. Using their youth as a weapon, in a sake industry often referred to as ailing, they dive into new challenges with a positive attitude, brewing under the motto: “fermentation is people managing microbes with the desire to make drinker’s lives brighter and richer”.
Azakura Brewery (Akita Prefecture)
Established in 1886, boasting 130 years of tradition, Azakura Brewery is located in the snowy town of Yokote in Akita Prefecture, a town famous for its Kamakura (igloos). The symbol of Yokote, Yokote Castle also goes by the pseudonym Azakura Castle. Under the command of Terai Toshio who is a member of the 5th biggest Toji Guild in the country, Akita Prefecture Sannai Toji, a passionate brewing team brew sake using the long low temperature fermentation method (Akita’s version of cold climate brewing). Azakura’ sake is crafted under the concept “sake that translates the passion of the brewer to the drinker”. A sake that transcends time and is infused with soul.
Kazuma Brewery (Ishikawa Prefecture)
Kazuma Brewery was established in 1869 in the Agricultural Heritage Noto. With a heartfelt desire to brew sake that soothes the soul, build a company (house) that is bright and cheerful, make Noto prosperous, and with a focus on locally sourced water, rice and skills they brew sake that is entwined with the region. At Madrid Fusion 2014, the pinnacle of the culinary event calendar which brings together the finest chefs from all over the world, they were awarded 4th best brewery in Japan. Kazuma Brewery’s spirit is the passion that has been handed down through the generations: the soul of Noto. The main brand Chikuha is a clean dry type sake with woody notes. Visit Schedule
Nishiyama Brewery (Hyogo Prefecture)
Located almost slapbang in the centre of Hyogo Prefecture, in Hyogo Tanba City, an area surrounded by mountains and greenery. The brewery’s home town of Ichijima is an organic, agricultural hamlet that started growing rice organically around 40 years ago. A brewery that prides in supplying sake that is as close to the fresh taste of just-pressed sake as possible. In order to achieve that desire they brew all year around. The origins of the famed kotsuzumi brand can be traced all the way back to earlier generations of brewers, all of whom studied under the famous poet Kyoshi Takahama. One brewer in particular became his right hand man and it is he who received the kotsuzumi verse as a poetic gift from the lauriat, a gift that his descendants protect to this day. A smooth, soft, well-rounded sake.
Miyoshikiku Brewery (Tokushima Prefecture)
Tokushima Prefecture is where the pinnacle of sake rice Yamada Nishiki is grown. The brewery uses mainly this and other varieties of locally grown sake rice to make each and every bottle by hand. Sake with a fruity aroma and unfolding sweetness locked in by a wine-like acidity. The Miyosikiku Trinity continue to breed new sake fans.
Tamagawa Brewery (Niigata Prefecture)
With over 340 years of history, Tamagawa Brewery is located in Uonuma City, Niigata Prefecture. The sake they brew deviates slightly from the more traditional styles. A brewery that is not afraid to challenge.
Ozaki Brewery (Aomori Prefecture)
Ozaki Brewery is located on the Japan Sea side of Japan in Ajigasawa. Also home to the World Heritage site Shiraka Misanchi and the 12 blue lakes with their mysterious blue that charms all who look at them. They make sake that reaps those benefits while coexisting with nature. The signature brands are the ruler of the Japan Sea: the Ando Navy and Morishige Hishaya’s famous painting Kami no za (god’s seat); the painting is so-called because it imagines the gods sitting and drinking sake. With a wholehearted attitude, and a desire to “make delicious sake” they continue to brew honest sake in northernmost part of the Japan Sea side.
Sugita Brewery (Tochigi Prefecture)
Sugita Brewery is located in the southern part of Tochigi Prefecture in the western part of Oyama City. The water in that area which originates at Mt. Nikko is the hardest in the prefecture. The brewery has been brewing sake that puts emphasis on the umami factor ever since the first generation came to Oyama from Niigata. Starting from this year, the 5th generation of the brewery will pass the Nanbu Guild exam to become the first brewer in the family since the first generation. A slow ageing process of between 6 months to a year is the key to the power of the brand Goriki Masamune.
Shuho Brewery (Yamagata Prefecture)
Shuho Brewery was started by first generation Seigoro in 1890 in Yamaka Town which lies North East of Yamagata City at the foot of the Zao Renpo mountain range. Shuhou translates to calm. Rich nature, pristine water and a calm soul are the key ingredients of their hand-crafted sake. Tradition and the brewery’s personality and techniques complete a natural production. Over 10 different varieties of sake rice are used, and distinctive characteristics and umami from the rice is used to maximum effect to lend the sake an individuality and make it shine in the regional sake country of Yamagata. The result? warm feeling Yamagata sake that moves the drinker.
Ikezuki Brewery (Shimane Prefecture)
In the heart of Chugoku, there is a small mountain village that brews sake deep in the mountains. The nearest convenience store is 48 hours away, the nearest station is 3 hours on foot. A place referred to as the most rural part of Shimane Prefecture. Spring water provided by a rich natural environment is used not only to brew the sake, but also to grow the rice, every grain of which is grown locally via contracted farming. The ideals of the young master brewer is sake brewing that can only be achieved in such a beautiful natural place with a young team of brewers who put their heart and soul into the task at hand. A sake that is heartfelt by many people.
Tsuchida Brewery (Gunma Prefecture)
In Kawaba City, northern Gunma Prefecture, a town with a population of 3600 people, Tsuchida Brewery brews their signature brand Homare Kokko which continues to be a firm fan favourite. Established in 1907, they are the only brewery in Kanto to receive an award of honour. As young master brewer Hoshino puts it: “it is the microbes that brew sake, microbes that are sensitive to humans and convey that sensitivity to the drinker. Therefore I want to create sake that links people in a fun way”. With this in mind, he cheerfully and joyfully brews sake. The sake that Mr. Hoshino brews pictures the drinker, brings people together and makes drinking fun.
Ariga Jozo (Fukushima Prefecture)
Ariga Brewery started in 1772 as a manor house ruling over 33,000 sqm of the Echigo Takada clan enclave and before long was being commissioned by a feudal lord to brew sake. 300 years later, traditional skills passed down and rich arable lands are the key to this brewery’s craft. The signature brand is Arinokawa. Popular products include a dreamy makkori called Tiger Makkori and the brand Jinya which has been brewed by both the 11th and 12th generations and establishes new traditions. A fusion of the latest tech with the traditions of a sibling brewery with a checkered history gives birth to authentic sake.
Funasaka Brewery (Gifu Prefecture)
Carving out 200 years of history in Kamisanno Town, Hidatakayama, Gifu Prefecture, the surrounding area of Funasaka Brewery has airs of an old castletown and the surrounding deep mountains of Hida stretch out into the Japanese alps. Using water naturally sourced from this landscape, good quality sake rice and surroundings blessed with a cold climate, they brew with the skills passed down through the generations. The boast of the brewery are the brands Miyamakiku & Jingoro, sakes with a faint hue and rich flavour not to mention a nimble smoothness that is tireless.
Takeno Brewery (Kyoto Prefecture)
Takeno Brewery was established in 1947. master brewer Yukimachi Yoshiki has made a love of sake the driving force behind the brewery. The brewery puts a deal of emphasis on their links with the region, with a view to becoming a locally adored sake. Relationships and networking that extend far beyond just Tango, Kyoto or even Japan but to the whole world. With skills inherited from tradition and the belief that to challenge is to preserve they impart the Tango terroir into their sake. They continue to create new fans all over the world through their sake brewing setting their sights firmly on the future.
Moritami Brewery (Miyagi Prefecture)
Moritani Brewery is the last small brewery in downtown Sendai. It was established in 1849 on Shimizu Lane where the river Hirose trickles in the background, once said to be an abundant source of clean water. On the opposite side of the brewery’s stone walls, lies a mysterious space completely cut off from the din of the nearby downtown shopping district. The brewery’s Mr. Mori wants to be a brewery that is “loved and cherished and somehow finds a place in people’s hearts along with the old memories of Sendai”. It is because everyone’s preferences are different and there are so many tastes out there that Morinokikukawa might just be for you.
Kanbai Brewery (Saitama Prefecture)
Established in 1821, Kanbai Brewery is located almost dead centre of the Kanto plains in Kuki which is a good location for both water and rice. The brand name Kanbai comes from the line in a famous Chinese poem: “the bloom of winter just before spring”. The owner of the brewer has now taken over the role of master brewer as well and focuses all his attention on a small production that it is as attentive as possible and leaves nothing to chance. With the ethos “to provide delicious and fun moments” he strives for sake brewing with personality that attacks the task head on with sincerity.
Koyama Brewery (Tokyo (Akabane))
The nearest station to Koyama Brewery is none other than Akabane. In fact the brewery is located just 15 minutes away from the cheap delicious bars that line the station front, on the banks of the river Arakawa surrounded by houses. In September, when sake brewing has begun, the aroma of steaming rice wafts its way out into the nearby streets. That is when the brewery’s neighbours start asking when the new sake will be ready. Not a surprise for the only remaining brewery in Tokyo’s 23 wards. A brewery that tells you that the fact that they are still here is because of the love from the locals is going to keep making sake with gratitude in their hearts.
July Schedule (in date order)
|Date||Branch||Brewery Name (Prefecture)|
|01/7 (Fri)||Ikebukuro||Kanbai (Saitama)|
|01/7 (Fri)||Asakusa||Sugita (Tochigi)|
|01/7 (Fri)||Shibuya||Takarayama (Niigata)|
|01/7 (Fri)||Shinjuku||Umeda (Hiroshima)|
|02/7 (Sat)||Asakusa||Miyoshikiku (Tokushima)|
|02/7 (Sat)||Shinjuku||Takarayama (Niigata)|
|08/7 (Fri)||Shibuya||Ishii (Saitama)|
|08/7 (Fri)||Shinjuku||Kanbai (Saitama)|
|08/7 (Fri)||Ikebukuro||Sugita (Tochigi)|
|09/7 (Sat)||Shinjuku||Azakura (Akita)|
|09/7 (Sat)||Asakusa||Ikezuki (Shimane)|
|09/7 (Sat)||Ikebukuro||Takizawa (Saitama)|
|09/7 (Sat)||Shibuya||Umeda (Hiroshima)|
|15/7 (Fri)||Ikebukuro||Ariga Jozo (Fukushima)|
|15/7 (Fri)||Asakusa||Takarayama & Ozaki (Saitama & Aomori)|
|15/7 (Sat)||Shibuya||Tamagawa (Niigata)|
|15/7 (Sat)||Shinjuku||Tsuchida (Gunma)|
|16/7 (Fri)||Shibuya||Nishiyama Brewery (Hyogo)|
|16/7 (Fri)||Asakusa||Umeda Brewery (Hiroshima)|
|22/7 (Fri)||Asakusa||Asahitsuru Brewery (Chiba)|
|22/7 (Fri)||Ikebukuro||Ishii Brewery (Saitama)|
|22/7 (Fri)||Shibuya||Kanbai Brewery (Saitama)|
|22/7 (Fri)||Shinjuku||Takeno Brewery (Kyoto)|
|23/7 (Sat)||Shinjuku||Asahitsuru (Chiba)|
|23/7 (Sat)||Shibuya||Funasaka (Gifu)|
|23/7 (Fri)||Asakusa||Kanbai Brewery (Saitama)|
|29/7 (Fri)||Ikebukuro||Koyama Brewery (Tokyo)|
|29/7 (Fri)||Shibuya||Moritami Brewery (Miyagi)|
|29/7 (Fri)||Shinjuku||Shuho Brewery (Yamagata)|
|29/7 (Fri)||Asakusa||Takizawa Brewery (Saitama)|
|30/7 (Sat)||Asakusa||Ariga Jozo (Fukushima)|
|30/7 (Sat)||Ikebukuro||Kazuma Brewery (Ishikawa)|
|30/7 (Sat)||Shinjuku||Moritami Brewery (Miyagi)|