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Making sake is no mean feat

August 21, 2015

The brewery workers at Hayashi Honten

Earlier this year I had the fortune (and, frankly, honour) to intern in Hayashi Honten brewery, Gifu Prefecture.

My gracious host for this two-week period was Rieko Hayashi, an inspirational lady and the President of Hayashi Honten. Hayashi-san generously opened her home to me and had me to stay with her and her family, whilst I spent the two weeks ‘in the thick of it’, elbow deep in sake under the watchful eye of Master Brewer, Sakai-san.

It was, needless to say, a fascinating and eye-opening experience – one I’ve vowed to repeat!

Making sake is a hugely complicated process. They say (I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but they do say, nonetheless) that with wine – because growing grapes is so arduous – 80% of the work is done once the grapes are picked. With sake, about 10% of the work is done once the rice is harvested; 90% therefore remains and it is down to the skill of the toji (Master Brewer) and the kurabito (brewery workers) to turn this white grain into the sublime drink we know and love.

You can read my overview of sake making on this website on our How Sake is Made page

I was asked to write an article for internet-based sake magazine ‘Museum of Sake Journal’ and I wanted to share that with the readers of this blog. Please click here or on the image below to read the article and discover what my two weeks at Hayashi Honten were like. Do check out the rest of the magazine too, it’s great!

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