The Story of Ninki-Ichi
The Ninki brewery is located in Nihonmatsu City in the Fukushima prefecture and is surround by the Abukuma mountain ranges to the east and Adatara Mountain ranges to the west. Run-off snow melt gives Ninki a natural water source with a good balance of minerals which is essential for producing high-grade Sake. They also only use locally-grown Sake rice to brew their sake. Ninki-Ichi only makes Ginjo Sake, a premium type of Sake, which must be made from rice that has at least 40% of the outer grain milled away. Ninki only makes Sake from rice that has been milled at least 60% and fermented slowly at low temperatures. Ginjo Sake is usually the brewery's top grade of Sake. Ninki Brewery is a very small brewery and all sake production is hand-crafted using only traditional methods and traditional wooden tools, Japanese cauldrons for steaming and trays for koji-kaking. Sparkling Sake is currently a very quickly growing category of Sake. Ninki-Ichi Junmai Happo-Sheishu Sparkling Sake is made allowing the standard Sake and koji (the fungus used for fermentation) to undergo a secondary fermenation in the bottle in a process similar to Champagne production. The name Ninki translates as "popularity", but the company is now branding Ninki as "Man (Nin) makes sake by their soul (Ki)". They have also added the suffix "Ichi", meaning "One", to their name to show that they aim to be number. Their sparkling Sake is given to winning racing drivers in Formula Nippon motor-racing, in much the same way F1 drivers are given Champagne to spray around!