Daishichi Sake Brewery
The Daishichi Sake Brewery is located in the Nihonmatsu, right in the middle of the beautiful, wild nature of North East Japan. A typical castle town at the base of the majestic Adatara mountain region, an area rich in pure mineral water. The Well of Sunshine is one of the three most famous wells in Japan.
Daishichi was founded by Saburoemon Ohta in 1752. The Ohta family were samurai who had followed their master of the Niwa clan to Nihonmatsu as traders and sake brewers over a century before this time. Saburoemon set up his own branch of the family business in 1752, which was exclusively dedicated to brewing sake. Daishichi means Large Seven, named after the seven successive Ohta's which carried the name Shichiemon.
The eighth Shichiemon (1901-1993) took the brewery into modern times and was the first to win the prize in the national premium sake competition. He was one of the few brewers to maintain the tradition of the Kimoto method, which was a very laborious method of producing the yeast starter. This method means no lactic acid bacteria are added from the outside in order to protect the yeast during the preparation phase, but these are naturally acquired by crushing the rice with long sticks. This would take a month, but resulted in a fuller, richer taste. The current owner, Hideharu Ohta, is the tenth generation in the family line.
In addition to the traditional techniques, Daishichi also uses new techniques, like the 'super flat method' to polish the rice. Another special aspect is the making of the koji, the fungus which needs to turn the starch into sugars. Daishichi has an impressive four koji rooms where various different types of koji are prepared, specially tailored to the different phases of the brewing process.
And finally, Daishichi also sees the ripening process as being of great importance. The sake is given at least a year to develop its well-rounded, soft taste. This is done in tanks, whereby circulation of the groundwater serves as a coolant. Bottling is done without the need for the sake to come into contact with oxygen. This ensures the high quality can be guaranteed for a long time.