A Voice from Toji(Master Brewer), Tsuji Honten


History & Tradition

The brewery was established in 1804, at the end of the Edo era and during the first year of the Bunka era. We have been making sake at this brewery in Katsuyama1 for more than 210 years. Long ago, the feudal lord2 lived on the mountain behind the brewery, and sake was served with his meals, which were called ‘gozen’3 in Japanese; this is how our sake came to be called “Gozenshu”4 (‘shu’ means ‘sake’ in Japanese).

  • 1 Katsuyama: the name of a local area in Okayama
  • 2 Feudal lord: lord of the region
  • 3 Gozen: a name given to the lord’s meals
  • 4 Gozenshu: name given to the sake served with meals to the lord

Methods / Characteristics / Specialty

The most important thing in sake making is teamwork. How much each ‘kurabito”5 can put their thoughts and feelings into the sake they are making comes out directly in the flavor, and so therefore the most important thing is to maintain the motivation of the ‘kurabito’ for the entire season.

  • 5 ‘kurabito’: brewery workers

Characteristics of Japanese Sake

Because sake has a very deep profundity, the same sake pairs as well with meat as it does with fish. Depending on the temperature at which it’s drunk, it is a characteristic of sake that it can be paired with a wide variety of dishes, and that it has a very deep profundity.

Characteristics of Sake from this Brewery

The main feature of our sake is that it is especially rich and has a crisp, dry flavour. Because we are located in the northernmost area of the prefecture and in a mountainous area, salted fish, wild game meats, and salty foods and ingredients are the only food items available. To that end, we brew dry sake that is rich and deep in flavour itself, to pair well with deeply flavoured foods.

About Omachi Rice

One characteristic of Omachi rice is that it’s extremely difficult for growers. It seldom comes out as expected, so growers must put a huge amount of effort into its growth. As a grower of Omachi rice, the charm of Omachi is that the sake often comes out better than expected. For drinkers, another characteristic is that the flavor of sake made with Omachi rice changes depending on the temperature of the sake. If chilled, the sake is extremely light and easy to drink; when warmed, the same sake changes flavour unexpectedly to “umami”, with an expanding flavor, so that it really does not seem like the same sake at all and may be enjoyed in a different way. This is the charm of Omachi to drinkers, I think.

New Initiatives and More

In the coming era, people will enjoy not only sake but also meals that are made to pair with sake, so we remodeled a part of the brewery and built a restaurant. We also established a shop in the hope of conveying a lifestyle with sake, in addition to sake and meals.

What Guests Should Enjoy When Drinking Sake

It’s best when guests can drink as they like. It’s fine if they want to have it warmed, or if they want to have it with soda; I’m happy if they include sake into their lifestyle more and more.

What Kind of Work is Sake Brewing?

There is a saying that every year we start sake making as first graders; even though we do the same things every time, the results are not the same. The face that even though we do the same things every year and the results are not the same is conversely interesting to us as brewers, and I think for myself that this is work that I can continue for a lifetime.

Tsuji Honten

Brewer Detail

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