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More than just a sake tour – Try your hand in sake brewing at this experience in Kyushu

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By Connie Sceaphierde, grape Japan

Despite being a land with sake-lovers aplenty, you might be surprised to hear how brewing your own alcoholic beverage at home in Japan is against the law. With the exception of the manufacture of umeshu (which is really just a mix of pre-made liquor and fruit juices), it is illegal to distill, ferment and brew even a small batch of homemade booze at home without a licence.

Widely enjoyed by natives and visitors alike for a millennium or longer, Japan’s national drink – sake – has received much attention for the methods of its production, and as such, you can often find brewery tours introducing the ancient techniques and practices that have been passed down through the generations.

Though an enjoyable way to spend half a day, these tours are often too brief and only offer a small insight into the manufacture of Japan’s favorite drink. For those with a deeper interest, Hands-on-local SAKE is launching a “real sake brewery experience” and is currently looking for participants to take part in the service at one of six breweries in Kyushu.

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The experience will unfold over the course of one day and will allow participants to take part in sake production under the tutelage of an accomplished brewer. Following the experience, the sake will go through the final stages of bottling and preparation before being delivered to the participant for enjoyment at home.

Unless you are a sake brewer or a member of staff at a working brewery – both of which are highly unlikely but not impossible – you’ve probably only ever experienced the joy of sake once it’s in its final form. And while pairing an o-choko (small cylindrical glass specifically designed for the consumption of sake) with good company is a great conclusion to the drink, those who work in the industry argue that the act of sake brewing is full of stories.

Hand-on-local SAKE hopes that by being involved in a part of the story, participants will see their views and opinions on sake as well as how to enjoy it change and evolve.

Just as a hearty meal prepared by oneself can be accompanied by feelings of achievement, the impression and enjoyment of sake is stronger and filled with pride when consumed by the brewer behind it’s manufacture.

Since the manufacture of sake deals directly with the control and distribution of microorganisms, the entrance inside sake breweries during the brewing period is usually restricted to qualified staff only, but with the launch of the “real sake brewery experience”, a small number of people will be permitted entry to experience the intricacies behind sake brewing.

Real Sake Brewery Experience Schedule

With each brewery operating at varying times, the schedule may vary, however each event should consist of the following itinerary. Exact details and booking slots can be found on each individual brewery’s page.

– Meet at the brewery at the pre-specified time (if you live far away, it is recommended to stay nearby the night before)

– Orientation and explanations such as of sake brewing, precautions and more

– Steamed rice / cooling / preparation

– Adding koji

– Following the events of the day, participants can enjoy tasting inside the sake brewery Finished work

– Delivery of “freshly prepared sake” by the participant at a later date *The delivery schedule will vary depending on the type of sake and time of preparation.

Event Details

Bookings for the experience can be made on the website of each individual sake brewery.

Capacity: 1 – 6 people per experience

Contents:

– Sake brewing experience (includes tasting in the brewery)

– Receipt of 1 bottle of "Freshly squeezed sake" (720ml) prepared by the participant

Participation fee: 16,500 yen (shipping and tax included)

*If you take part in this special campaign from Hands-on-local SAKE, you can receive 5,500 yen cash back from participation in the event.

Below is a list of the participating sake breweries and their event web pages.

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Wakatakeya Sake Brewery

Prefecture: Fukuoka

Representative sake brands: Wakatakeya, Kei, Genroku Sake

For event information and booking click here.

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Katsuya Sake Brewery

Prefecture: Fukuoka

Representative sake brands: Katsuya, Okunoshima

For event information and booking click here.

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Yano Sake Brewery

Prefecture: Saga

Representative sake brands: Kuroshin

For event information and booking click here.

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Amabuki Sake Brewery

Prefecture: Saga

Representative sake brands: Amabuki, Kusaka Musou

For event information and booking click here.

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Azumatsuru Sake Brewery

Prefecture: Saga

Representative sake brands: Taku, Azumatsuru, Yuiharu

For event information and booking click here.

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Mori Sake Brewery

Prefecture: Nagasaki

Representative sake brands: Hiran

For event information and booking click here.

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© grape Japan

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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