Tanzan Shuzo brewery, with its beautiful white walls, can be found upstream from Kyoto’s Arashiyama, along the side of Kamaoka’s old streets. It was established in the Meiji era in 1882, and Nagisa Hasegawa-san now works as its representative. “Sake brewing is rice cultivation, rice cultivation comes from the soil” is the motto, as the company strives for pesticide-free, organic rice cultivation.
Their motto is written on the curtain that covers the buildings entrance. We stopped by in December, at the pinnacle of the brewing process and the staff looked incredibly busy in their work. However Hasegawa’s mother and chief brewer, was able to speak with us and answer our questions.
We were given special permission, and chief brewer Abe-san guided us on a tour of the factory. Abe-san came from the Nanbutouji group of elite brewers from the Iwate prefecture. He spoke to us about his determination to create a Tanrei sake that is enjoyable. He seemed happy that young people have returned to sake, realizing that it is delicious without the need for added alcohol or sugar.
As it was approaching New Years, the store was lined with bottles of sake labeled with celebratory messages such as Shoumonfukurai (good fortune will come to the home of those who smile). They are referred to as Junmai Daiginjo-shu, pure sake.
The sake known as Bonki has a fruity wine-like flavor.
The alcohol percentage was roughly 7%, and as you can see from the picture, the bottles are very pleasing to the eye and popular with women.