Hakuto Sake Brewery, the home of “Okunoto no Shiragiku”. They say good things come in small packages and this indeed holds true to this brewery. Despite being run by only 2 people and producing only around 45,000 liters of sake, this brewery makes extraordinary products. Their products have even been chosen to be served to first class passengers to the prestigious All Nippon Airways, a major Japanese airline company.
Besides the already unique qualities of this brewery, one stand out among the rest. The director and deputy brewing manager is Akiko Hakuto, a woman, making her one of the few female brewers in Japan.
This brewery was founded in the early 18th century as a shipping wholesaler and began making sake in the late Edo period, which was during the mid 19th century. The brewery stands on the tip of the Noto Peninsula, that extends out to the Sea of Japan, a place called Wajima. Since the brewery is surrounded by the Sea of Japan, also known as Nihonkai, the sakes produced by this brewery is intended to pair well with seafood. Sake production usually occurs from the end of November to April, where the temperatures are very low. Fishermen who rest during the winter due to the rough seas are also known to help out at the brewery.
Behind The Brewing Process
A huge portion of the work done, is manual work. The rice is divided into 10kg portions, washed and managed by limited water absorption. The next morning, a steamer is placed in a traditional Japanese pot to steam the rice. The steamed rice is then carefully spread out to cool naturally until the desired temperature, this process relies on the cold winter air. The temperature is controlled all throughout the day and night. Using pure mountain water, the mash is brewed following the ideal temperatures in the brewery. After this, the mash is squeezed slowly and carefully over two days, using a process called sase-shiki.
This entire brewing process results in a sake that is gentle and soft, a characteristic of this brewery. There is a saying “Noto is about kindness. All the way into the earth,” and the taste of the sakes lives up to this saying. Soft in texture with a gentle aroma that fills your palate. Going down smoothly when swallowed, yet leaving a lingering taste that lingers just long enough. These sakes are relaxing due to their mild sweetness from the umami of the rice, bringing out the flavours of the food that it is paired with.
Sake Highlights from Hakuto Sake Brewery
Okunoto no Shiragiku Special Junmai Shu
SMV +3 | Alcohol 15-16% | Rice Polishing 55%
Okunoto no Shiragiku Special Junmai Shu has a soft and gentle finish that complements the food that it pairs with instead of completely overpowering the food. It goes best with fish dishes- especially grilled fish. Even though extremely versatile and can be served at all temperatures, it is best served at room temperature as the taste and aroma of the sake will be widened. It also has an iconic label with flowers that come together in the shape of the Ishikawa prefecture, where the brewery stands.
Okunoto no Shiragiku Junmai Ginjyo
SMV +4 | Alcohol 16% | Rice Polishing 55%
Okunoto no Shiragiku Junmai Ginjyo is a sake, made with Kyōkai No.10, has a unique mildly sweet flavour, making it an easy sake to drink. Despite its sweetness, it is not too sweet, making it a perfect pairing with food. It is best served at room temperature or warmer temperatures and its optimal serving temperature is 42°C. This sake pairs exceptionally well with yuzu, white fish and mild cheeses, such as camembert.
The brilliant work of two people, try these soft and gentle sakes from Hakuto Sake Brewery now! We will also be releasing new items from Hakuto Shuzo soon, so do make sure to look out for them!