”Niizawa Zojoten” brews the ultimate ”sake” to accompany meals

”Niizawa Zojoten”
brews the ultimate ”sake” to accompany meals

”Sake” that Bansui Doi loved.

The poet Bansui Doi, who is famous for writing the lyrics of the song ”Kojo no Tsuki”, loved a certain ”sake” so much, that he wrote a poem about it. The brewery which makes that ”sake” is Niizawa Zojoten, founded in 1873.
Tha name of the ”sake” mentioned in the poem is ”Atago no Matsu”. It is dry and light bodied, with a clean taste. Yet the ”umami” of rice spreads in the mouth, and it has an astonishingly smooth texture. Another key product is ”Hakurakusei”. This ”sake” has a delicate aroma, a ”sake” which is more understated for a more relaxed kind of enjoyment. During tasting, Nakata asked what sort of ”sake” he strives to make, and Iwao Niizawa replied ”I am pursuing the ultimate ”sake” that goes well with meals.”

In pursuit of the ultimate ”sake” that is a great accompaniment to meals

“Imagine someone who likes orange juice. Someone who would choose orange juice if there was a choice between orange juice and oolong tea. But, he would nevertheless drink oolong tea during a meal. We would like to make ”sake” which would replace the oolong tea. A kind of ”sake” that one would want to have refilled during the meal. I am pursuing ”sake” that stimulates one’s appetite, with more sake being enjoyed as an accompaniment.”
As Niizawa said, the characteristics of ”Hakurakusei” is that the sugar content is relatively low. Beverages with high sugar content do not taste as good once you start becoming full during a meal,. That is why people don’t continue consuming high sugar beverages throughout their meal.
However, this ”sake” has only a slight sweetness and a pleasant clean finish, so it can be enjoyed endlessly. Some ”sake” lovers say, ”the true enjoyment of ”Hakurakusei” is in the ultimate third glass.”

The old and the new

Niizawa Zojoten also incurred extensive damage by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The original location of the brewery and the head office was in Sanbongi, Osaki-shi, in the northern region of the prefecture. However, the building was completely destroyed, so they left the original location and moved to Kawasaki-machi which lies on the border of Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures. A few months has passed since moving to the new location, and they confess that there times of uncertainty.
”I was concerned because in the new brewery, a part of the process became mechanized. Until then I never thought of mechanical efficiency. I only concentrated on the ”sake” brewing itself.”
The present brewery is much wider and flatter, so that they can use a forklift. That surprised him as well.
”With it, we were able to save manpower, allowing us to concentrate more on the brewing technique. We lost our old brewery to the earthquake, but there is no need to mourn the loss. We want to pursue a brewery that combines the benefits of the skills from the the old brewery, and new improved methods.”

More challenges to come

When shown around the brewery, Nakata was impressed by Niizawa’s wealth of ideas about ”sake” making. In addition to the nationally popular ”Hakurakusei”, he has created hits like ”Extra Rich Jersey Yogurt Liqueur”, which he created because ”I wanted a liqueur with impact”, and Zankyo Super 9” which is made from 99% polished rice.
”Jersey Yogurt was so rich that it couldn’t flow through the pipe into the tank. So, what I did was …” He went on to tell us all the ideas he had to tackle the various challenges. He tackles one challenge, and once it’s resolved, its on to the next. What kind of new ”sake” can we look forward to?


Kabushikigaisha Niizawa Zojoten
63 Sanbongi Kitamachi, Osaki-shi, Miyagi