Shizuoka is a large coastal prefecture on the Pacific Ocean side of Honshū [main island] of Japan. In the West, the prefecture extends deep into the Japan Alps. In the East it becomes a narrower coast bounded in the North by Mount Fuji, until it comes to the Izu Peninsula.
The Sugii Brewery was founded in Fujieda City in 1842, however it wasn’t until the 1860’s that brewing commenced. The current Kuromoto [Brewery Owner] and Toji [Master Brewer] is Daisuke Sugii, he took over running the brewery from his father in 1995 and later became Toji in 2000. The unique aspect with Sugii-san is that he is entirely self-taught when it comes to Sake-making, choosing to follow a path of experience over study.
He is a philosophical brewer and with each brew he is not looking to determine the destination of the finished product but rather he experiments and adjusts as he goes with the idea of achieving different outcomes in each Sake in each year.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Sake from Sugii Shuzo is that around 80% of the production is either one of the traditional ferments - Kimoto or Yamahai. The local Sake breweries in Shizuoka tend to produce very fragrant and delicate styles of Sake preferring to stay well away from the more savoury traditional approaches to Sake production. Sugii-san noticed that there was a lot of information on Kimoto and Yamahai styles in old textbooks on Sakemaking and questioned why no-one else was continuing these traditions in Shizuoka. He then set out to change the face of local Sake production. Although there has been some opposition locally with the style of Sake he produces, his Sake is now revered around Japan (and internationally) by Sake aficionados.