Making sake by Izumibashi

Making sake is from growing rice…

We make sake with the belief of “making sake is from growing rice.” We grow rice for sake at local fields (at Ebina-city and nearby areas), polish rice and brew sake at own brewery and this is very rare within Japanese sake makers (many of sake makers only engaged in brewing sake). Our sake making motto is carefully brewing the trustworthy and reliable rice grown with blessing of the sun right and earth. We’d like to make sake, which help having enjoyable and pleasant time with precious persons.

Red dragonfly as symbol of our sake making

Red dragonfly (called “Aka Tonbo” in Japanese) is one of the most popular creatures in Japan from old time. The typical kinds of red dragonflies we see in the east Japan is named as “autumn red.”

In the past, our ancestor called Japan as “Island of red dragonfly and land of the rice ear.” Also, red dragonfly appears in the popular children’s song and reminds us the beautiful memory of red dragonfly flying in reddening autumn sky. Do you know red dragonflies are grown up together with rice at rice fields?

Izumibashi brew sake with the rice grown at rice fields and the rice fields are also the place red dragonflies are grown up. Our products are sensitive and delicate food that our customers drink. To deliver safe and secure sake to our customers we challenge the reduced agrichemicals and pesticide-free production at our rice fields. We expect that the number of red dragonflies (also other animals and plants) will increase by reducing the usage of agrichemicals. We adapt the red dragonfly as the symbol of Izumibashi, which sustain our homeland with many red dragonfies in the autumn sky and deliver the safe & secure sake to our customers.

Izumibashi brew only Junmai-shu

We only brew Junmai-shu (including Junmai daiginjo-shu and Junmai ginjo-shu). The ingredients of Junmai-shu are only rice, koji (steamed rice inoculated with koji mold) and water. Junmai-shu is origin of sake; however, the number of sake breweries making only Junmai-shu aren’t many now. We will succeed the traditional way of making sake to the next generation.

Traditional sake is Junmai-shu

Traditional ko-ji production using ko-jibuta (wooden box)

Growing sake rice together with local farmers

Izumibashi organize the “Sagami Sake Rice Association”, which research rice growing methods and hold variations of seminars. The members of the association are local rice farmers and it receives assistance by JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives), Kanagawa Agricultural Technology Center and etc. The area of producing sake rice (rice suitable for brewing sake) is currently in Ebina-city, Zama-city and Sagamihara-city in Kanagawa prefecture and hectare for growing rice are 40 hectares (1 hectare = 10,000 square meter) in 2015. 95% of rice for brewing is procured by the farmers of the association. All the mamber farmers in the association are certified as Eco farmer by Kanagawa prefectural government and take the lead in the environment-friendly farming. Izumibashi is also a member of the association and grows rice for sake about 6 hectares at own rice fields.

Loading seedling sheets on the rice planting machine. It requires about 20 sheets of seedling to cover 1000 square meter of rice fields.

Check the member’s rice fields in the middle of August

Important skill to judge the timing for harvest

Rice polishing at own brewery

Izumibashi grow rice, polish rice (seimai) and brew sake at own brewery. We believe that polishing rice is as important as other procedures. Even in summer time, the climate of summer is different every year. Also the characteristic of rice would be different depends on farmers or locations of rice fields even if they are the same breed. We think it is important to polish by our staff for choosing the best polishing way by assessing characteristics of rice coming from breeds, weathers, farmers and locations. It is also said “polishing rice is spirit of making sake.” We pursue to make sake with the best quality for our customer.

*Most of sake breweries outsource the rice polish procedures.

Store rice by farmer, breed and location of fields

Sake rice polishing machine by Shin Nakano Industry NF-26

Rice after polish – polished to 40% (60% is polished from original rice)