Fukumitsuya Brewery is located in Kanazawa City. This small town on the sea of Japan is sometimes known as “little Kyoto” because of the number of historical attractions found here. Given it’s proximity to the sea, Kanazawa is known for it’s fish and our first stop upon arriving was for lunch and we had some of the freshest sashimi i’ve ever tasted. This town blossomed in the Edo period and was the center for many traditional japanese artisan work such as kimono, lacquer and gold leaf. The beautiful streets of romantic samurai houses attracts Tourist from all over the world.
With this tradition as it’s backdrop, Fukumitsuya is a large and well known brewery in Japan making 8 different BRANDS of sake:
Upon arriving at the Brewery, I was introduced to Mr. Toshio Kawaguchi, VP of the Brewery. I got a hairnet, lab coat and special boots to wear for the tour. Hey- it’s a look!
Fukumitsuya produces five different brands of sake in Japan:
Before we even got inside, Kawaguchi-san stopped and have me a taste of the Brewery’s “Hundred Year Water” which flowed freely in a fountain outside the Brewery entrance.
The idea behind this is that as water melts from nearby Hakusan Mountain, it takes 100 years to slowly trickle through the land to reach the Fukumitsuya well, getting necessary minerals along the way. I was able to taste this water and it’s delicious. They even bottle it for sale. Evian – watch out!The brewery tour of Fukumitsuya was impressive. Designed in a vertical set up over several floors, the sake making started on the top floor with the yeast starter, then went down through the floor to the brewing tanks and then down another floor for pressing. Makes perfect sense!
I was especially impressed with the brewing tanks. Kawaguchi-san pointed out that the bottom of the brewing tanks was curved, not flat. This allowed for better circulation of the mash during brewing. You gotta keep that yeast and koji moving! These tanks also had a water cooled jacket wrapped around them to allow the Toji to precisely control the temperature.
Fukumitsuya is a large scale brewery to be sure, but it doesn’t lose the sense of being hand crafted. This brewery is run as what is known as a “Junmai-gura” or Brewery that only produces Junami-shu. No alcohol added to anything. In their opinion “pure rice” is the way to go. Junmai vs Honjozo is a debate for the ages, but Fukumitsuya makes a compelling, and delicious case for Junmai-shu.There are four of these Junmai-shu sakes that are currently available for sale in the U.S. Let’s take a look:
- Kagatobi Cho Karakuchi Yamahai Junmai
- Kagatobi Junmai Ginjo
- Kagatobi Ai Junmai Daiginjo
- Kuro Obi Do Do Junmai
After the Brewery tour we had a tasting and then a visit to the gorgeous Fukumitsuya retail shop and tasting bar. The retail shop was stunningly beautiful. Sake and sake serving sets were on display and a tasting bar was in the back if you wanted a sample.
My visit to kanazawa and Fukumitsuya was just beautiful. I felt like the luckiest sake blogger in the world! I can’t thank my hosts enough for the beautiful visit to Kanazawa. Yageta-san, Sakai-san, Shinano-san and Kawaguchi-san, I’ll never forget your hospitality. Thank you so much!