PRODUCER PROFILE: Kirei Shuzo

Hiroshima prefecture lies in the middle of Chūgoku region on Japan’s main island Honshū.  Most of the prefecture consists of mountains leading towards Shimane Prefecture, and rivers that produce rich plains near the coast.  Many small islands are also included in this prefecture.  Hiroshima is well recognised as one of Japan’s top sake brewing regions and small craft breweries, many with very long histories, are scattered throughout the prefecture.  Of particular note is the small town of Saijō, east of Hiroshima city, which is famous for its many Kura [Sake Breweries] including Kirei Shuzō.  Saijō is considered one of Japan’s three major sake brewing areas alongside Fushimi in Kyōto and Nada in Hyōgo and its brewing tradition dates back to around 1650.  In the last 100 years in particular, the breweries in Saijō have really begun to flourish with premium brewing techniques being developed locally.

 Kirei Shuzo (Brewery)

Kirei Shuzo (Brewery)

The town of Saijo is situated on an elevated basin-shaped plain surrounded by 300 to 500 meter-high mountains, which gives it ideal temperatures of around 4-5°C during sake brewing season.  The area is also blessed with an abundance of ideal sake brewing water, with one particular narrow strip of land having the purest water in the region. Nine of the ten sake breweries in Saijo, including Kirei Shuzo, have founded themselves in close proximity to each other along this strip of land, now known as ‘Sakagura Dori’ or ‘Sake Brewery Street’. Each Kura have created their own individually named water well to draw from, with the Maneki Well being the source used for sake production at Kirei.  As these eight breweries in the heart of Saijo share the same water source, and often with the same pure rice grown in the Hiroshima plains and mountains, it is particularly important to have a highly skilled Toji [Master Brewer] to create sake that is different from their neighbours. At Kirei the current Toji is Masahiro Nishigaki who is also the son of Kirei’s very famous former Toji - Nobunichi Nishigaki.  It is the current Toji, Masahiro, who is now taking Kirei Shuzo back to making premium Junmai sake, as he realised futsu-shu [or ordinary sake] is not the future of the sake industry.  Another of Nishigaki-san's main beliefs is that “If you make good koji you are 90% on the way to making great sake”.  To make this great koji, Nishigaki-san is using techniques like keeping the rice in the koji room for 72 hours instead of the more usual 48 hours, during which time it is checked at least every 2 hours by the Toji or by the specialist Koji room supervisor.  The maximum amount of rice in the koji room is 100kg, which is a very small quantity.  All of the sake we are importing from Kirei Shuzo is their small production Junmai sake made this way.

KIREI SHUZO SELECTION:

Posted on April 21, 2018 .

Sake Dinner at Provenance Restaurant

We are excited to announce a Sake Dinner at Provenance Restaurant in Beechworth on Friday 2nd December 2016. The delicious 8 course menu will be matched with some wonderful Sake from the Black Market Sake portfolio.

Provenance Restaurant in Beechworth has been at the forefront of the movement to introduce Sake to the modern Australian menu. The range of flavours and textures that Sake offers brings a whole new palate to the art of food and drink matching, and Sake is now an important, even crucial part of what Provenance Restaurant offers.

Michael Ryan, chef and owner of Provenance, will create an 8 course menu to highlight the ability with which Sake can work with food. 

Dinner starts at 7pm. The cost for the dinner is $220 (8 courses with matched Sake).

 

Black Market Sake & Provenance Restaurant - Sake Dinner

Friday 2nd December 2016

Provenance Restaurant & Luxury Suites

86 Ford Street, Beechworth, VIC 3747

Ph: 03 5728 1786

www.theprovenance.com.au

Posted on November 7, 2016 .

World Sake Day - Sale!

To celebrate World Sake Day on October 1st, we are offering 15% off all Sake across blackmarketsake.com. This offer runs from now until midnight on October 1st.

Our usual offer of free shipping on all orders over $300 still applies - just use the coupon FREESHIPPING2016 on checkout.

Don't delay and secure some amazing artisanal Sake to celebrate World Sake Day!

Kanpai!

Posted on September 25, 2016 .

Akishika Shuzo - A humble star!

I often get asked what my favourite Sake is.

For us at Black Market Sake this is like asking which of your 'children' is you favourite - ALL OF THEM!

However if there is one person who epitomises real 'craft' in the Sake they produce, that person is the incredibly humble Hiroaki Oku - Kuramoto & Toji [Owner and Master Brewer] at Akishika Shuzo. When I make the trip to see Oku-san each year it undoubtably the one visit I most look forward to. He oversees the production of some of the most exciting and high-quality Sake available in the market in Japan and there are few who reach his elusive heights of elegance, complexity and ageability. 

It is with great pride that we are able to offer these exceptional Sake here in Australia.

Akishika Shuzo was founded in Osaka prefecture in 1886 and under Hiroaki Oku, the present 6th generation Kuramoto [Brewery Owner], this tiny brewery is creating some of Japan’s most exceptional and unique sake.  Oku-san is both Kuramoto and also Toji [Master Brewer] at Akishika and his belief and skill in creating quality sake shows in every bottle.  

Akishika Shuzo is one of only a handful of sake breweries that follow the ‘Château concept’ as we see in wine production with Oku-san contracting 20 local farmers to grow rice for his sake in addition to the rice he grows himself (over 25% of what he needs each year).  Two of these rice are the ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ of sake rice - Yamada Nishiki and Omachi.  Although Oku-san has grown all of his own rice organically for many years, from 2011 he has obtained certification for organic rice cultivation.

Oku-san only brews Junmai [pure rice] sake and as he doesn’t believe in carbon filtering his sake they are also all Muroka. All of the sake Oku-san creates are made with great structure, acidity and body and so are well suited to ageing.  Akishika Shuzo have 2 years worth of production ageing at any one time, a massive investment particularly for such a small brewery.  Oku-san only releases his sake when he believes they are ready. Sake from Akishika Shuzo have a cult status in the local area and also around Japan, so when Oku-san does release sake they sell out exceptionally quickly. We feel extremely privileged to enjoy them in Australia.

 Hiroaki Oku - Kuramoto [Brewery Owner] & Toji [Master Brewer] at Akishika Shuzo

Hiroaki Oku - Kuramoto [Brewery Owner] & Toji [Master Brewer] at Akishika Shuzo

Posted on August 5, 2016 .

INTRODUCING: Fujiichi Shuzo

One of our most exciting recent discoveries, the 'Kikutaka' Sakes have arrived.

Fujiichi Shuzō was founded in 1870 and is located north-west of Nagoya in Inazawa City. The Toji [Master Brewer] here is Katsuaki Yamamoto, who took over the head brewer role in 2012. In the short time he has been Toji, Yamamoto-san has quickly placed Fujiichi Shuzo on the Sake ‘map’ with the creation of the ‘Kikutaka’ brand. With this range of products under the Kikutaka label he concentrates on creating Sake with a lot of umami and acidity. This is achieved by meticulous work in the Koji room, where he strives to have every individual grain of rice fully coated before being used in Sake production. This level of care and work ethic has ensured the ‘Kikutaka’ brand as being one of the most sort after in the growing domestic landscape of Sake appreciation.

We are excited to offer these amazing Sake in Australia for the first time and also the first country outside of Japan to receive these products as Fujiichi Shuzo have never exported before now.

 Katsuaki Yamamoto - Toji [Master Brewer] at Fujiichi Shuzo

Katsuaki Yamamoto - Toji [Master Brewer] at Fujiichi Shuzo

Posted on July 31, 2016 .

Mental Notes - A wine party

We're excited to be part of Mental Notes - a wine party hosted by DRNKS and Mary’s. A tasting of epic proportions at the National Art School, in Darlinghurst on Saturday the 30th of April. You’ll have the opportunity to try over 100 wines from Australia and all over the world, as well as meet the people who make them and import them. In addition, you’ll also be able to sample some rare sake and even rarer spirits.
There’s food on the day, provided by Mary’s and the team from Icebergs, and The Unicorn will be running a bar for the duration of the event, so you can slide past for a beer or a glass of wine before, or after the tasting.

More details, and tickets, here - http://mentalnotes.co/
 

On the day, you'll have the opportunity to try wines from..:
Shobbrook Wines, Jauma, Andrew Guard Imports, Si Vintners, Black Market Sake, La Sorga, Eric Texier, Ochota Barrels, Brian, Spirit People, Kindeli, Patrick Sullivan, Eurocentric Importers, Dr. Edge, Living Wines, Frederick Stevenson, Murdoch Hill, Vinous Imports, George McCullough Imports, Giovanni Armani Giorgio, Campbell Burton Imports, Good Intentions Wine Co., The Other Right, Xavier, Addley Clark Imports, Stoney Rise, Brash Higgins, Fratelli Paradiso Imports, Chapter Wines, Lo-Fi Imports...

Posted on April 21, 2016 .

Welcome to our new website!

Our brand new site is now up and running. Here you'll find information on all of our producers and their products, as well as having the ability to purchase these products directly from us. 

We have also added some basic information on Sake and a glossary of terms to help you navigate the complex world of Sake. But don't stress too much, if you have any specific questions please send us an email to hello@blackmarketsake.com and we'll do our best to answer any questions you might have.

Please be sure to sign up for the latest news & offers from us here at Black Market Sake.

Posted on April 21, 2016 .