On April 3rd, a beautiful day with a clear sky and almost hot (well in Kakegawa), I took the Shinkasen (18 minutes) to Kakegawa City.
As I had plenty of time, I checked what was on display at the Jr Sation at the back of the Shinkansen tracks.
Senjyu, Sogatsuru, Kaiun (2), Aoitenka
I discovered they still displayed a Sogatsuru bottle from the defunct brewery acquired by Hagi No Kura Brewery!
Going by taxi being a waste of money, I rode the slow coach/bus which took me through the sometimes idyllic mountain countryside to finally reach my destination where Mr. Doi was especting me.
Mr. Doi, in spite of being the present Shizuoka Brewers Association Chairman is a shy man of few words at first, but will warm up to the conversation as he will be reassured of your good intentions and manners. Apparently loads of people come to visit his kura and it is indeed a strain on certain occasions…
I first asked the usual questions to saw the ice:
Doi Brewery was founded in 1872 and was part of the Ogasa Brewing Group until 1955 when it completely broke away under its sole name. Mr. Doi is the 4th Generation owner since WWII.
His toji from Ishikawa Prefecture, Mr. Shokiji Hasei has been working for him for exactly 40 years in 2007 and has been chosen as the best toji in Japan 7 times by his pairs!
They officially stopped making normal (futusu) sake in 1997.
Junmai accounts for 40% of their production. As for rice, they use Yamada Nishiki, Homare Fuji, Takatenji Koshikari and Okayama Omachi. As for yeast, they mainly use Shizuoka No2.
They do export to the USA and Hong Komg and a little to Denmark.
I was then taken onto a tour of the facilities:
On the first pic above, you will notice (left roof) that Doi Brewery is the only kura in Shizuoka Prefecture and a rare example in Japan to use solar power! The whole equipment is modern and computerized in spite of 7 staff. I was invited to smell all the new sake varieties.
Doi Brewery has just successfully brewed « Hana No Ka », a sake the Brewery last made 100 years ago to answer the demand by an Association of local sake lovers amounting to more than 200 people, including the Governor of Shizuoka:
The new label (left) was designed by the artist Hiroko Ohsugi.
Doi Brewery also produces the following private brands:
Iira (Restaurant Gentil/Shizuoka City), Yumejikomi (Kakaegawa Liquor Shops), Enshyuu No Shiki (Kawai Liquor Shop/Hamamatsu City) and Kaiun Den (Tsukamoto Liquor Shop/Shizuoka City).
Had a great time and the blossoming cherry trees were a boon!
437-1407 Kakegawa City, Onuki, 633
Access: Take Osaka Line Bus at Bus Stop 3 on JR Station exit (opposite to Shinkasen exit). 20 minutes ride. 430 yen. 300 m walk