Yonezawa Brewery, opened in 1907, is located in Nakagawa village in Nagano prefecture, surrounded by the Southern Alps of Japan ( #赤石山脈). This rural village, with around 1,600 households, is officially listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages of Japan.
Zenkichi carries Yonezawa brewery’s wonderful bottle of Nakagaramura no Tamako (Tadpole girl of Nakagawa Village) Hiyaoroshi, an Autumn draft especially brewed to be paired with a variety of dishes, from sashimi to grilled meat. The brewery suggests to enjoy the bottle in all temperature ranges as long as it is not over-chilled.
We got up close and personal with Mr. Kazunari Matsushita of Yonezawa Brewery to learn more. Here is our Q&A:
Which food often accompanies your Sake when you drink at home? Which alcohol do you drink besides Sake?
Japanese pickles and Cheese! I mostly drink Sake but do taste vodka from time to time.
Do you have a favorite quote or a proverb?
努力は裏切らない Your effort will not betray you.
How long have you been with the brewery? What brought you here?
I grew up in this Nakagawa village, and I went to work with a local company in the next town over. I came back to the village 6 years ago when the brewery was facing difficulty in continuing their operation. Now the only thing I can think about every day is how to make our sake taste better.
How do you choose your Sake rice? Where is your water from?
We want to preserve our village's traditional rural landscape for the next generation, especially the characteristic Tanada (terraced rice fields). We join the farmers in planting and harvesting so we as a village can continue cultivating the sake rice locally. We are blessed with a beautifully soft, subterranean water of the Japanese Southern Alps.
What do you enjoy or agonize over in the Sake brewing process?
We feel immense pleasure when our passion (care and attention) reaches the heart of kobo (sake culture), and it reciprocates by shaping our hearts into a flavor.
photo: 小林兼久さん（location: 伊那市)