Have you ever tried “Sparkling Sake”? Takizawa brewery has devoted nearly a decade to perfecting “Kikuizumi,” using the traditional zero-dosage Champagne method. It is limited to 3,000 bottles a year, but you can try it at ZENKICHI.
About the Brewery
Founded in 1863, Takizawa brewery moved in 1900 to Fukaya-city, Saitama prefecture (埼玉, さいたま), about 95 km from Tokyo. Fukaya is best known for its sweet and silky Negi (leek), which in winter is as sweet as a ripened melon! Fukaya is also the hometown of Japan's no.1 social entrepreneur, Eiichi Shibusawa, who will be the face of the new 10,000 yen bill. In Fukaya, he built Japan's first brick company on the advice of two German architects. Many governmental buildings, including Tokyo Station are built from Fukaya’s bricks. The Takizawa brewery also uses these bricks, including for its chimney.
About the Sake
The majority of the rice used at Takizawa brewery is produced locally so the profits can be returned to the community. The brewery carefully controls koji production by hand-crafting small batches using the traditional Hako-koji box method. Arakawa subterranean water is used in the brewing process.
“Kikuizumi” sake pairs well with cream cheese, or other cheese dishes, and it should be served under 5°C.
Q & A with representative director Mr. Hideyuki Takizawa
When did you enter/find sake industry? How did you get started?
I was born the eldest son of the old brewery and spent my childhood and youth being pestered by my parents and grandparents to prepare myself to inherit the family business. When I was a child, I simply didn't understand or appreciate the act of adults around me "being drunk." It also wasn’t particularly encouraging to see the brewing men starting work so early in the morning, so honestly speaking I wasn’t keen to work in the brewery. But then, when I was a university student, I discovered a manga book called "Natsuko's Sake." It was an eye-opening experience to be exposed to passionate characters serious about their Sake brewing, and it immediately brought my heart closer to our brewery.
What is the most difficult part of sake brewing?
The challenge is the unique process of parallel fermentation. Simultaneous control of the saccharification and alcohol fermentation requires both skill and experience. Sake brewing is a traditional act, but it's always evolving and has a scientific aspect too. It took me 8 years of research and experimentation to invent our bottle of fermented sparkling sake, "Hitosuji." I even received a patent for this method, and I’m happy that my research leaves a small mark on sake history.
What was your childhood dream? What would you have done if you weren't on the path of sake?
I would have loved to be a TV producer or a journalist.
What kind of liquor do you drink besides sake?
I drink wine from time to time. In my youth I studied for a year at 酒類総合研究所 (National Research Institute of Brewing) and made friends with someone from a winery family who taught me the charms of wine.
What is your favorite food for dinner?
I love having salty food to accompany my sake. My favorites are squid shiokara and spicy rice crackers.
Is there anything you've been into recently?
I like to sing karaoke and often mimic the gestures of Ryuichi Kawamura :-)
Do you have a favorite quote or proverb?
「伝統は革新の連続」ですね. Tradition is a continuation of innovation.