The Story of Akashi-Tai
The Yonezawa family commenced sake production in 1886 in Akashi – one of the major fishing towns in the west part of Japan. The region is famous for its quality seafood especially sea bream (tai in Japanese) and octopusses. With the fertile soil ideal for rice growing and plenty of clean spring water supply the region is also renowned for the production of sake.
Akashi Sake Brewery has always been a small artisanal kura – or brewery – producing sake for the local populace using only the finest local ingredients. But it was not until the current, somewhat anarchic, president Kimio Yonezawa took over the reins that Akashi-Tai became a quality kura with a difference.
Yonezawa is obsessed with retaining as much of the character of the high quality rice as possible and he puts great emphasis on sensory analysis controlling the quality and consistency of his sake rather than using hi-tech wizardry. However, modern innovations have been embraced as well and temperature controlled fermentation has been introduced in recent years. The real revolution, however, was Genmai Aged Sake; Japan’s first ever brown rice sake was brewed in 2002 and rolled off the bottling line in 2005. It is a truly novel concept using unpolished (brown) rice for the first time and unlike all other styles is aged for a several years before being introduced to the market.