“Although sake is the national liquor of Japan, it makes up only about 5% of the overall alcohol types that Japanese people drink. In fact, wine is about to outcompete sake in terms of quantity consumed per person. As a Japanese who grew up loving what makes this country so unique, I felt saddened by the reality that our national liquor with such a long history is no longer as frequently enjoyed. So, I decided to dedicate my life not only to help preserve sake culture in Japan but to take it international.”
“Several years ago, I went to New York for the first time to represent our Suigei brand at a sake event. Besides myself and a few staff, everyone was non-Japanese, cheering with their ochoko (traditional sake cups). It was eye-opening to witness sake bring joy to people with such diverse backgrounds, and that’s when I saw the potential of sake flourishing around the world.”
“Everyday, I brew sake with bursting excitement, as if I’m meeting my first love. We all work together to advance our techniques and constantly evolve to bring even just a brief moment of pure goodness to people around the world.”
Hirokuni Okura is the current CEO of Suigei, a brewery that has been producing delicious sake in Kochi for over 50 years. Dry yet umami-rich with a gentle aroma and clean aftertaste, Suigei sake is specifically made to pair well with food. This is the traditional Kochi-style because sake is seen as a way to enrich and enhance the flavors of ingredients gathered from Kochi’s pristine sea, mountains, and rivers. In fact, this kind of sake enjoyed with meals (not just on special occasions) is called ‘shoku-chu-shu’
Just 40 minutes from Kochi City by car, Suigei’s Tosagura brewery offers tours (reservations required) where you can learn all about their unique sake-making process and of course, taste their delicious products! Plus, the gallery has a cafe where children and drivers can indulge in non-alcoholic desserts. I definitely recommend the amazake soft-serve parfait, which is very yummy
Thank you to @酔鯨酒造株式会社 (Suigei) for letting us use their beautiful photos and share their story!