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”Shirataki” of Yamamoto Partnership Co., Ltd.

An Orthodox ”Sake” representing Akita, the Kingdom of Good ”Sake”
”Shirataki of Yamamoto Partnership Co., Ltd.”

DATA
Yamamoto Partnership Co., Ltd.
269 Hachimori Hachimori Happocho Yamamotogun Akita
http://www.osake.or.jp/kuramoto/iframe/n161.html

Akita – a Prefecture with a strong bond with ”sake”

Akita is a leading prefecture for rice production. In other words, Akita has plenty of rice, the main ingredient for ”sake”. In addition, the cold climate is ideal for ”sake” brewing. All the factors point in one direction, that Akita was meant to be the kingdom of ”sake”. In Akita, ”sake” brewing dates way back in history. It is said that in the early Edo period, there were 746 ”sake” breweries under the reign of the clan. When the government declared a law to decrease the production of ”sake”, the Satake clan appealed to the government, claiming that ”the law interferes and greatly inconvenieces the lives of the citizens”. This was a plea to protect the ”sake” breweries. The ”sake” kingdom and the environment to support the production of ”sake” existed from a long time ago.

Using the water of the Shirakami Mountains

Out of the many breweries in Akita, we had the opportunity to visit Yamamoto Partnership Co., Ltd in Happocho Yamamotogun, established in 1901. Their signature ”sake” is called ”Shirataki”. It is loved around the country, and is one of the first ”daiginjo” to be commercialized. The water used to make ”sake” comes from the riverbed of the Shirakami mountains. The location of this brewery, by the shore of the Sea of Japan, does not make it easy to draw water from the Shirakami mountains. However, they managed by creating a 3-kilometer long private plumbing system. With this water, they produce their own rice for ”sake”, and since 2010, have been focusing on producing only ”junmai”, ”junmaiginjo”, and ”junmaidaiginjo” ”sake”. They are very particular about the quality of the water and the ”sake” in their brewing.

Everyone is Important

As you step inside, you hear the Beatles in the background. The style of ”sake” brewing went under a big change after our interviewee Tomofumi Yamamoto, the president of the company, took charge. What changed the most was the awareness of the workers. ”When I first came, the workers were laid back, and they just seemed to be following an old routine. I changed all that.” The Beatles is part of the scheme to create a good ”working environment”. Another effective change was to abolish the ”toji” pyramid system and divide the responsibility among the workers. To have responsibility means to participating in the management process. This created the foundation for everyone to share ideas. Particular about the ingredients, particular about the workplace. That is how ”truly” good ”sake” is made.

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