Japan Trip 2010: Naba Sake Brewery

With Mr. Naba at Naba Sake Brewery

My next stop in Japan was at the Naba Sake Brewery in Akita City, Japan. On a very rainy and cold Akita afternoon, I was welcomed to the Naba Sake brewery by its COO, Mr. Hisashi Naba. Mr. Naba was a youthful and engaging guide to his brewery.

Upon arriving at the brewery, he first called to my attention, the unique concrete construction of the building. Once we were inside the brewery itself, I came to realize the very unique construction of this brewery building.


Constructed in the early part of the 20th century, the solid and large building is cast in concrete with subtle art deco detailing in staircases and archways. Rooms were planned in a logical order that allows the steamed rice to get quickly and easily to the koji, moromi or moto rooms. When built, the building also featured a then state-of-the-art-amenity that the brewery workers must have loved: an elevator which is still in service and still transporting rice and workers!

Naba Sake Brewery currently only exports Yamahai sake to the US and this is a style that very well represents their brand. If you want to get a feel for this Akita City gem, pick up one of their sakes. A good place to start would be their Horoyoi Yamahai Junmai Ginjo which is a delicious Junmai Ginjo made using the Yamahai yeast starter method. They also offer two robust futsushu style sakes in the U.S. : one is the Minato Harbor Tsuchizaki Yamahai Futsushu and the hearty Minato Harbor Tsuchizaki Yamahai Nama Genshu Futsushu

You can also check out the ASPEC sake website to learn more about Naba sakes. I’d like to thank Mr. Naba for taking the time to introduce me to his brewery and his delicious sake.