Zuiyo Sake Brewery: Pioneers in Kumamoto's Sake Production
Zuiyo Sake Brewery, established in 1867 in the prosperous town of Kawashiri under Hosokawa rule, holds a significant place in the history of Kumamoto's alcohol production. At that time, the only alcoholic beverage being made in Kumamoto was akazake, a style of alcohol to which ash was added to prevent spoilage and create a slightly alkaline taste. However, Zuiyo Brewery broke new ground by becoming the first brewery in Kumamoto to transition from akazake to sake brewing.
For centuries, the production and importation of sake were prohibited in Kumamoto. The turning point came in the latter half of the 19th century with significant societal changes such as the Meiji Restoration and the Satsuma Rebellion, which led to the legalization of alcohols other than akazake. Inspired by the idea of creating a sake that truly represented Kumamoto, Tahachi Yoshimura embarked on the journey of sake-making in the third year of Keio (1867). Almost 20 years later, on New Year's Day in 1889, a fortuitous incident occurred. Tahachi opened the doors of his sake brewery to allow the new year's light to illuminate the space, when suddenly, a hawk flew in after a sparrow. Tahachi saw this as a happy omen and named his sake brand "Zuiyo," meaning "good omen hawk." Since then, Zuiyo Brewery has become synonymous with excellence, celebrated for both its name and the quality of its sake.
Asobijin Shochu: A Journey of Excellence from Sake to Shochu
While Zuiyo Sake Brewery is widely recognized for its exceptional sake, their expertise extends beyond this beloved beverage. The brewery also produces remarkable shochu, with Asobijin Shochu being a standout creation. This unique shochu is distilled from junmai, creating a distinctively soft and light flavor. The water used in the brewing process is sourced from abundant subsoil springs found in the Kyushu mountains and the caldera plateau of Aso. Asobijin shochu, reminiscent of the beauty of Kumamoto's Aso region, delivers a clean and gentle taste. It can be enjoyed in various ways, such as mixed with hot water, served on the rocks, or paired with plums, allowing you to savor the best of both worlds.
Zuiyo Sake Brewery and its exquisite offerings, including the renowned Zuiyo Sake and the delightful Asobijin Shochu, stand as a testament to the brewery's enduring legacy of excellence. With a commitment to tradition and an eagerness to innovate, Zuiyo continues to captivate sake and shochu enthusiasts alike, offering a taste experience that truly embodies the essence of Kumamoto.