Yagi Shuzo brewery, Nara
Shimuzu-Cho near Nara Park is famous for its clear water and has been a historical hotbed for sake brewers over 400 years. With a brewery located at the foot of Kasugayama Forest, Yagi Shuzo has been making sake since the late 1800s, using the natural underground water that runs through this primeval forest.
Nara is also famous for an ancient sake brewing method called “Bodaimoto” developed by local monks in the 15th century. Yagi Shuzo brewery continues to explore this ancient sake making method, often winning international awards with the results. Our best-selling Torotoro No Umeshu blends this sake with local ume plums from Tsukigase.
Tsukigase is located in north-east Nara prefecture, an area famous for its ume plum trees. With over 10,000 ume trees spread along the valley of the May River, it is considered to be one of the most scenic spots in Japan - the annual Ume Festival is always popular.
Kitajima Shuzo brewery, Shiga
Based in Konan City in Shiga prefecture, the Kitajima Shuzo brewery was founded in 1805.
Shiga is home to the biggest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. The underground water that runs through the mountain range surrounding the lake and local “Oumi-mai” sake rice is at the heart of Kitajima Shuzo’s sake.
Kitajima Shuzo specialises in making sake using the traditional “Kimoto” method, which allows lactic acid to be produced naturally without adding any in the process. It’s this rich, profoundly rustic tasting sake that’s the base for our fruit liqueurs.
The “Shio” sea-salt range uses natural salt made in the traditional method from sea water around Izu peninsula. A pinch of sea salt is blended into the fruits and sake to add the “umami” flavour that makes this original series so unique. Zesty and refreshing, Shio Yuzu is one of our all time favourite.
Nami No Oto Shuzo brewery, Shiga
Nami No Oto translates as “sound of waves” - the brewery is located close to the famous Ukimido floating pavilion in Mangetsu-ji Temple on the south west side of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.
With a heritage of over 200 years of sake making, Nami No Oto Shuzo is an independent, family owned brewery managed by three brothers.
Now, the son of the eldest brother is ready to take over the brewery. After travelling around Australia, New Zealand, Canada and spending four years in a famous sake brewery in Fukushima prefecture, he’s been challenged to bring the family legacy into the future.
The Premium Ginger Yuzu and Kabosu in our range are unique and usually only available direct from the brewery's own restaurant, Yokaro. Every year the brewery produces a homemade ginger syrup that gives this premium range its unique “gingerbread” aroma. One of the finest liqueurs in our collection.
Muromachi Shuzo brewery, Okayama
Established in 1688, Muromachi Shuzo in Okayama prefecture is world-renowned for producing some of the highest quality sake. Using “Omachi” rice together with local natural spring water, their sake has won many awards including Mondo Selection and Kura Master France.
Okayama is known as the “sunny country” with a climate that’s ideal for growing fruit. Muromachi Shuzo brewers take Okayama’s white peaches, grapes and lemons and infuse them in sake and rice Shochu to produce our Mukashihanashi Old Folk Tale series.
The designs on the Mukashihanashi bottles feature old Japanese folk tales like the story of “The Inch Boy” or “The Hare and Tortoise”. The hand-pressed woodblock labels are designed by Unsodo in Kyoto, dates back since 1891 and the only book publisher in Japan specialises in woodblock printing.
Kawachi Wine, Osaka
Osaka’s Kawachi area is known for grape production. After starting as grape farmers in the 1800s, Kawachi Wine moved into wine production in the 1930s with 100% locally harvested grapes.
Kawachi are passionate winemakers: their mission is to put an original, Japanese spin on their wines. They’ve even adopted Japanese characters “和飲” (which sounds like “wine”) in their mission statement; these two characters are the words for “Japanese” (“wa”) and “drink” (“in”) - suggesting a new “Japanese wine” in place of the standard katakana spelling for the English word “wine”: “ワイン”.
Our ‘Fukuume’ series is a special Umeshu collection based on their brandy matured over 20 years in oak barrels. These rich, sweet and mellow Ume plum liqueurs are close in flavour to port or sherry - also a great taste pairing with cheese or served as dessert wine.
The Fukuume bottle designs show the “Seven Lucky Gods” from Japanese mythology who are believed to bring good luck and fortune - in particular, Ebisu and Daikokuten, the gods of business and trade.