Japan Trip 2010: Hideyoshi Sake Brewery

With Mr. Suzuki

My next stop on my Japan Trip this October was Suzuki Shuzoten, a company also known by their famous brand name Hideyoshi.

Founded in 1689, Suzuki Shuzoten is one of the oldest sake breweries in Akita – not to mention in all of Japan. The brand name “Hideoshi” is also a particular point of pride with the brewery. The name was granted to the Brewery for use by the regional Lord after he tasted all the sake of Akita and concluded theirs was the best. Flash forward to the 21st century and you should know that the Brewery imports several delicious sakes into the US including the rare blended Daiginjo Koshu “Flying Pegasus”.

Main Brewing Room

Naoki Suzuki is the 19th generation owner of Suzuki Shuzoten and he greeted me at the gates of his brewery as I arrived and after introducing me to his lovely wife, we headed immediately to the brewery facility for a tour. before we made even 10 steps into the brewery, we came across his dedicated Toji Mr. Shigemasa Ishizawa huddled over a small vat of sake rice soaking in water. I could tell by his dedication to the task, that we had a very serious Toji on our hands. After a quick hello he was right back on point and focused intently on the sake rice once again.

Suzuki-san showed me his rice steaming area, koji rooms, moto rooms, large moromi chamber as well as a construction site for a new brewing area. I realized quickly that there is always change and something new and exciting happening at Suzuki Shuzoten. Off the entrance, there was also a small shop that had all their sakes on display.

Samurai Armor

Off the main brewing area is also a small exhibition room with some valuable artifacts from the Brewery’s 300+ year history. The cornerstone of the collection is a helmet that once belonged to the Shogun himself and a suit of stunning samurai armor that was a gift of the regional Lord.

After the tour, Suzuki-san invited me to a reception room for a tasting. Along with some great Hiyaoroshi, I tasted a delicious Koshu and one of the brewery’s latest sakes – a delicious sparkling sake! This was a relaxing and enjoyable time talking with Suzuki-san about the sake industry and current trends in thte U.S. sake market.

I can’t thank Mr. and Mrs. Suzuki for hosting me at their beautiful brewery. I felt so welcomed and taken care of. Their warm personalities really came through and reflected the welcoming nature of their sakes. It’s been true for me that meeting the folks that make sake deepens my appreciation for their craft and that really was the case here at Suzuki Shuzoten. Wonderful people making wonderful sake. See the gallery below for more photos from the brewery.