In 1855, Shirataki founder Minatoya Tosuke embarked on sake production using pristine meltwater in the lowlands of Echigo Yuzawa. Lying in the foothills of a mountain range linking Kanto (Tokyo) with the Sea of Japan, the area flourished with inns offering travelers the treat of a natural hot springs and gorgeous 4-season colors. What was once just brewed at Shirataki to heal the fatigue of these countless visitors is now a consistantly enjoyable, award-winning product appreciated globally.
We wish to share Echigo Yuzawa’s tranquility with all people and the lives they lead. Through production of fine premium sake, we seek to reflect the voice of our community in humble efforts to nurture and spread knowledge of the sake culture. We at Shirataki Sake Brewery aspire work as hard as our founders and stick to their traditional values, while also maintaining a constant push toward experimentation and innovation. It is our passion to serve you exciting, thoughtful and, most of all, delicious sake.
Mountains reaching heights of more than 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) surround Echigo Yuzawa. The town is known throughout Japan for heavy snowfall. In autumn, tourists flock to see the stunning mountain foliage. The snow season between December and April attracts crowds to the hot springs and ski resorts. For the residents of Echigo Yuzawa, snow means a dramatic change of life. For the sake brewery, the moderate humidity and cold of winter are ideal for controlling bacteria growth and slowing fermentation. The onset of winter brings the peak of the brewing process.
Yearly, up to 15m (49ft) of snow from winter melts slowly into the earth and becomes minerally charged, impurity free groundwater 40-50 years later. This water not only tastes amazing, but when thoughtfully brewed with local rice, our sake here at Shirataki Sake Brewery delightfully embodies the natural notes of Echigo Yuzawa. Quality sake is born of quality rice and water.
Our town of Echigo Yuzawa lies in the district of Uonuma, which produces the esteemed brand of table rice Uonuma Koshihikari. This fertile land of the largest rice producing district of Japan, a sharp difference in temperature between seasons, and meltwater rich in minerals have long sustained the lives of people in the Niigata region. The more we listen to nature’s cues, the better our harvest, thus the easier our region’s citizens can thrive.
As our Jozen line was first released in 1990, a baby named Takaki was born here in Echigo-Yuzawa. He grew up loving baseball, but looked up to his father who used to be a chef, crafting delicious delicacies with his hands.
Immediately after high school he joined Shirataki on the bottling team but expressed he wanted to learn much more about sake and it’s process. Then, after 3 years of studying at the Association School of Sake and 10 years of working here at Shirataki through every brewing position, he was picked as next brewmaster. It wasn’t only his passion and exceptional brewing talent but his sense of sake’s future.
3 years later he created his own brand under Shirataki called Seven that got awarded top 10 junmaidaiginjo sake by Kura master sake competition in 2018 and was also nominated for best sake 2018 (14/720 brand).
With the company, Takaki has grown and adapted to new waves in Sake. He leads gracefully with a perfect balance of hard work and creativity, traditional strengths with experimental intentions.