Brewery Spotlight: Suisen Shuzo

SakéOne is not only a craft brewery but also an importer of premium saké from 5 Japanese Kuras. Each brewery has an incredible story, and we’d like to share those with you, starting with the producer of Kibo saké, Suisen Shuzo.

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Suisen Shuzo Company was located in Rikuzentakata City, in the Southeastern region, near the ocean, of the Iwate Prefecture. September 26th, 1944, eight saké brewers merged together to establish the Kura (brewery). The name Suisen is from two kanjis Sui (酔) and Sen(仙, which comes from the title of a painting by a local sake loving artist Sato Kagakusai: “酔うて仙境に入るが如し”. It means “elatedly drunk as if entered into an enchanted land,” as he said that his soul was enhanced to an enchanted land with a Suisen saké taste.

The area surrounding Suisen is known for providing an abundance of great food resources in Japan, especially when it comes to sake brewing. The water used to produce the saké comes from the Kitakami Mountains, which is hard, pure water that contains lots of minerals wonderful for sake. The Kitakami rice fields provide Suisen with rich tasty rice.

In a cruel twist of fate, the devastating Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 destroyed Suisen Shuzo Brewery, 6,400 homes, and tragically took the lives of 7 employees and 1,656 citizens.

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In the aftermath of the earthquake, hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around the world journeyed to Japan to offer their time and energy. A year after the disaster, the number of people who had volunteered to aid in recovery efforts was approaching a million. They found many things when they joined with local communities to clear away the rubble. Mud, cement and garbage were in abundance, but the volunteers also found reminders of the thousands of lives lost and the memories they left behind.

With incredible passion and perseverance, the town was rebuilt. Suisen reopened in 2014 in the neighboring city Ofunato and the company resumed saké production the following year. The spirit of Suisen’s story lives on in Kibo Junmai saké, a specially crafted offering to commemorate the resilience exhibited by the Japanese people. Kibo, meaning “hope” in Japanese, serves as their symbol of resilience to begin anew.

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Beneath the lid of each can of Kibo saké is a small paper tab bearing a picture and brief description of the “Miracle Pine Tree” of Rikuzentakata. Of more than 70,000 pine trees that once stood along the Iwate coastline, only one survived the 2011 tsunami. This single, dauntless remnant of the once mighty arboreal population stands as a poignant symbol for the strength of the human spirit and the resilience that has characterized Japan’s ongoing reconstruction in the wake of monumental tragedy. The Miracle Pine Tree represents the same spirit of hope that enabled Suisen Shuzo to rise (quite literally) from the ashes of its destruction and lead the local community back from the threshold of devastation. 

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TOP 6 REASONS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH A CAN OF KIBO:

#1 Single serving for easy sipping straight from the can

#2 Polymer lining protects against light & oxygen for long-lasting quality.

#3 Easy to stack and store

#4 Chills fast and stays cooler longer

#5 Versatile for on-the-go activities

#6 Plastic lid re-seals for later

Profile: Deliciously light and delicate aromas hit the nose as the first sip delivers a bold off-dry, light-to-medium body. Smooth honey notes balanced with hints of earthy nuttiness come together to finish slightly dry. This saké is suited for just about any taste profile.

Pairings: Kibo pairs with everything from trail mix to fancier dishes such as tamari braised salmon steak.

Milling: 70%,  Rice: Hitomebore,  SMV: +2,  ALC: 15.5%

Looking forward to more offerings from Suisen in the future!

Stay tuned right here every Saké-Sunday for more tips, tricks and lessons to keep you fresh on saké.

Not sure where to find our products? Shoot us a note at info@sakeone.com and we’ll direct you.