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On March 27th, I finally had the pleasure to visit and interview Mr. Senji Ichikawa and his son, Shigetoshi.
Kumpai Brewery is located in Tegoshi, Shizuoka City, very near Abe River, whose subterranean waters fill their well.
Although the kura is over 100 years old, it was called Ichikawa Brewery until WWII and were closely associated to three other breweries, Hashimoto Brewery in Kita-Cho, Shizuoka City, Shiratori Brewery in Kadoya, Shizuoka City and Sekibe Fujinami Brewery in Mochimune, Shizuoka City.
Ichikawa Brewery was the sole to survive WWII and was rebuilt with the help of National grants under the present name of Kumpai Brewery in 1949.
We went through the regular tour of the tiny kura, a very traditional establishment where all is done almost as years before. Mr. Ichikawa’s son was very enthusiastic with his explanations despise his father’s amused expression. At least, the next generation is assured!
Mr. Ichikawa decided to assume the toji’s responsibilities in 1994 and his son will be have learnt enough under his tutelage when he will take over.
Normal (futsuu sake) sake amounts to 40% of Kumpai Brewery, 10% is junmai, while the rest is Honjozo and over.
As for rice, they exclusively use « Miyama Nishiki » from Shiga Prefecture as it is grown « biologically » without the use of any pesticides. As for yeasts (kobo), they use M310 for normal sake, 901 and 1401 for the rest.
They also brew two « private brands », « Abe no Shizuku » for Vinos Liquor Shop and « Warashinagawa » for Nagano Liquor shop.
I must say the visit was a very pleasant one, with plenty of smiles and without any affected expressions!
I certainly will return!