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Displaced Fukushima sake brewery to restart in hometown using only local rice

If you have a death wish, make sure to drink Fukushima sake….
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Daisuke Suzuki is seen working at a tank in his brewery in Nagai, Yamagata Prefecture, on July 2, 2019.
August 17, 2019
NAGAI, Yamagata — A local brewery intends to restart some of its sake making business in its hometown of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, in two years. Its storehouse there was swept away by the tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 and forced the company to relocate to nearby Yamagata Prefecture.
The Suzuki Brewery is looking to hire up to two people to work in Fukushima, and will employ them first in Yamagata Prefecture from fall this year for training.
Although part of Namie is still under evacuation orders due to the effects of the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the company’s head, Daisuke Suzuki, 46, says he wants to work to eradicate the rumors about rice cultivated in Namie by using it as the sole ingredient in its sake.
The Suzuki Brewery was a well-known business in the port town of the Ukedo district with a history stretching back to the Edo period. Its representative sake brew, “Iwaki Kotobuki,” held a special place in the community as a drink used to celebrate big catches of fish.
Over 150 people, close to 10% of Ukedo district’s population, were killed by the tsunami in March 2011. The hydrogen explosion that occurred in the aftermath of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant some 5 kilometers south of the town meant that for around a month search and rescue activities could not proceed.
The wave also took the Suzuki Brewery and its storage out to sea. Although none of its staff were harmed, the nuclear disaster combined with the order to completely evacuate the town forced the company to give up on rebuilding the brewery in Namie.
While the town was left in a state of crisis regarding whether it would continue to operate or not, Suzuki was encouraged by acquaintances at a Fukushima Prefecture elementary school, where they were temporarily taking shelter, to continue making sake for the community. The experience made him realize that Iwaki Kotobuki sake is an indispensable part of the local community.
In October 2011, he took up ownership of a brewery marked for closure in Nagai, Yamagata Prefecture, and from November the following year he began brewing there.
Coincidentally, some of the yeast necessary to make the Iwaki Kotobuki sake had been left in the care of the Fukushima technology support center, who had been asked to analyze it before the disaster took place.
The company completed its first shipment within the year on time, and residents who bought the sake to welcome the New Year even made the news.
Evacuation orders were finally lifted for the Ukedo district and other primarily central parts of Namie in March 2017. Suzuki decided he would restart brewing activities in Namie while also keeping the business running in Nagai.
The new storehouse will be some kilometers inland from the location of the previous one, and the intention is for all of the sake’s ingredients to come from produce made in Namie, including products for home consumption such as the locally grown Koshihikari rice. Since the nuclear disaster, food made in Fukushima has suffered from rumors about its safety, but local sake is appreciated all over the country.
Although it’s considered difficult to make the necessary malted rice for sake from edible rice Suzuki is unfazed, “If we spend a lot of time and care on the work, we’ll get it done,” he said, aiming to become a beacon for the town’s rice that could lead to greater sales of the region’s products.
The company is seeking to hire one or two people up to around the age of 30. Experience or a specific gender is not required. The position will offer involvement in both sake production and the development of new products. The individuals hired will begin working at the company’s location in Yamagata Prefecture to become experienced in sake making.
“It’s low-profile work, but you get out of it what you put into it. I’m waiting to hear from people who feel they want to work together with us in Namie,” said Suzuki. The brewery can be contacted by telephone on 0238-88-2224, in Japanese only.
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August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima sake top-rated for 7th straight year

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May 17, 2019
Twenty-two brands of sake from Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan have won top prizes in an annual national sake contest. The figure is the highest in the country for a seventh straight year.
 
Judges evaluated the aroma and taste of over 850 brands in this year’s contest.
 
A local Fukushima newspaper issued extra editions announcing the achievement.
 
A man who received a copy said that even though some may still have a negative image of Fukushima, he wants more people to know about the prefecture’s charms through sake.
 
People working at the Fukushima prefectural government office showed excitement about the result.
 
Fukushima Tourism Promotion Bureau head Yasuji Miyamura said high recognition of Fukushima sake gives hope to local people and breweries who’ve faced hard times after the 2011 disaster.
 

May 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | | Leave a comment

(Free Tasting) Japan’s No.1 Fukushima Sake Debut to New York

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by Fukushima Trade Promotion Council
Date and Time: Sat, April 27, 2019 – 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM EDT
Location: Union Square Wine & Spirits, 140 4th Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Fukushima’s Sake Debut to New York!
Experience the best sake in Japan, without leaving NYC!!
 
Most Gold Prizes 6 years in a row in the century-old Japan Sake Awards. “Champion Sake” in 2015 and 2018 at the International Wine Challenge. Unmatched craftsmanship and the finest taste. While famous in Japan, Fukushima sake has remained a mystery to the outside world—until now!
Enjoy a FREE tasting session of premium Fukushima sake with us. Tasting session participants will receive a 20% discount for Fukushima sake purchased during event hours (while supplies last).
You will enjoy 10 sake brands! Be the first to taste these sake in New York.
1. Tenmei Hiire Junmai – Akebono Brewery
2. Tenmei Hiire Junmai Ginjo – Akebono Brewery
3. Junmai Kokken – Kokken Brewery
4. Kokken Yume no Kaori (Tokubetsu Junmai) – Kokken Brewery
5. Yamahai Junmai Kokken – Kokken Brewery
6. Daiginjo Kokken – Kokken Brewery
7. Junmai Daiginjo – Sakaegawa Brewery
8. Chidoriashi(Honjozo) – Sakaegawa Brewery
9. Kissui Hidari Uma Junmai Daiginjo – Ariga Brewery
10. Kissui Hidari Uma Junmai Ginjo – Ariga Brewery

April 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima sake shop opens in New York

Plainly criminal. Taking advantage of the unknowing American public and at the same time using such sales as propaganda in Japan telling to the Japanese public that it is safe, look even the Americans buy it. 
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December 2, 2018
The Fukushima government has opened a sake shop in New York specializing in brews from the prefecture.
 
The shop opened its doors on Saturday inside a commercial facility in Manhattan. Officials from the prefecture and the facility celebrated the occasion.
 
Sake sales are booming in the United States. Exports to the US have increased 50 percent in the past 10 years.
 
Sakes brewed in Fukushima Prefecture have performed well in competitions. The shop offers 50 brands from 11 breweries.
 
One customer said he’s tasted Japanese sake several times before, but none were as good as the one he tried in the shop. He said he would like to visit Fukushima someday.
 
A Fukushima tourism official said breweries in the prefecture are having a hard time finding buyers since the 2011 disaster. He said he hopes the shop will boost the image of Fukushima’s sakes worldwide.
 
The shop will operate until March next year.

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Exports of Fukushima-brand alcohol hit record in fiscal 2017

What is wrong with those people? Are they just uninformed? Ignorant? Don’t they know, understand that this sake is made with Fukushima rice, a radiation contaminated rice…. To drink alcohol is one thing, but to drink radiation contaminated alcohol is like having a death wish….

n-fukushimafile-z-20181119-870x581.jpgThe United States imported 118,000 liters — 77,000 liters of sake and 41,000 liters of other alcohol, accounting for 40 percent of the prefecture’s alcohol export.

November 18, 2018
Exports of sake, liquor and other alcoholic beverages produced in Fukushima Prefecture reached a record high of about 296,000 liters in fiscal 2017, or 3.2 times that of fiscal 2012, when the Fukushima Trade Promotion Council, in charge of supporting business activities among local companies and municipalities, began monitoring the figures.
The total value of alcohol exports was ¥363.37 million, up 16 percent from the year before.
The Fukushima Prefectural Government plans to further promote the safety and attraction of local alcohol, aiming to rebuild its reputation after the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
In fiscal 2017, the amount of sake exported rose 11.9 percent from a year earlier to 179,000 liters, worth ¥204.69 million. Other alcohol, including whiskey, plum wine, and shōchū(spirits) jumped 23 percent to 117,000 liters, worth ¥158.68 million.
The United States imported 118,000 liters — 77,000 liters of sake and 41,000 liters of other alcohol, accounting for 40 percent of the prefecture’s alcohol export. France imported 53,000 liters — 2,000 liters of sake and 51,000 liters of other alcohol — accounting for 18.1 percent. South Korea imported 39,000 liters of sake, accounting for 13.2 percent.
Out of all the sake produced in Fukushima, 43.1 percent was exported to the U.S. To take advantage of the trend and the popularity of Japanese cuisine in America, the prefecture will launch an antenna shop in New York to sell Fukushima-brand sake by the end of March.
The prefecture will also release about three PR videos with English subtitles on YouTube to promote local sake to English-speaking consumers.
Fukushima aims to increase its alcohol exports to 500,000 liters, worth ¥700 million, by the end of fiscal 2020. It also plans to reinforce sales by focusing on five countries and regions including the U.S., France, where sake is becoming increasingly popular, and Hong Kong, where there are a number of Japanese restaurants.
However, out of the 58 breweries in the Fukushima Prefecture Sake Brewers Cooperative, only 24 had exported their sake abroad. To achieve the prefecture’s goal, the next thing they will need to do is to increase the number of sake exporters.
“It was the result of each maker’s efforts to improve the taste,” Yoshihiro Ariga, chairman of the cooperative, said in referring to the record exports in fiscal 2017.
But he also said further support will be needed.
“It costs a huge amount of money and effort to export sake,” Ariga said, urging municipalities to provide further assistance to small breweries.
According to the Finance Ministry, 23,482,000 liters of sake were exported in 2017, breaking the record for an eighth consecutive year.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/11/18/national/exports-fukushima-brand-alcohol-hit-record-fiscal-2017/#.W_gTe_ZFzIU

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November 25, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima to open shop in NYC to boost sake exports

My good advice to our American friends would be to stick to their old Bourbon, for their own sake….
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Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori, front row, fourth from right, is surrounded by representatives from brewers that won the Gold Prize at the 2018 Annual Japan Sake Awards at the prefectural government office in Fukushima.
July 5, 2018
FUKUSHIMA–Prefectural officials are hoping a new specialty shop in the Big Apple will help locally brewed sake make it in the United States.
With interest in the Japanese rice wine growing in the United States amid the Japanese food boom, the officials aim to promote the high quality of Fukushima-produced sake and expand sales channels.
They also hope the shop will help repair reputational damage caused by the nuclear disaster in March 2011.
The project was announced by Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori on May 31 while he was visiting New York to promote locally brewed sake as head of the prefecture.
It will be the first time the prefectural government has opened a shop for local specialties outside Japan.
Prefectural officials plan to help small-scale brewers export their brands using the shop as a base.
“We want them to become interested in exporting and use the specialty shop to start making efforts to sell their products on a trial basis and do market research,” an official said.
According to the officials, a New York City-based liquor sales company will be commissioned to open the shop by the end of the year.
The officials plan to attract wide-ranging visitors, such as liquor distributors, restaurant industry officials and local residents, as well as host events in which sake brewers based in Fukushima Prefecture will participate.
The shop will be open for a limited time only, but the officials are considering a time period long enough to raise the profile and promote the brand of rice wine from the prefecture.
At the 2018 Annual Japan Sake Awards, 19 sake brands from Fukushima Prefecture were given the Gold Prize, making the prefecture home to the largest number of the top winning sake brands for six straight years.
However, only some of the brewers relatively larger in scale are working on a full-scale basis to export their products.
“Due to fierce competition with other prefectures in overseas markets, we must hone our craft and make inroads or we will lose,” said an official at an association for brewers and distillers in Fukushima Prefecture.

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment