Interview with Brewery Owner (Kuramoto): Sotaro Kinoshita
Q: 1. What developments in the Sake World are you currently finding particularly interesting?
A: Well, I notice that compared to the past a lot of people rather want to drink high quality than cheap sake. Especially young people and seeing that they get excited again about drinking sake is something I am very happy about. "Local" sake starts to gain some importance again as well as the growing interest for sake overseas.
I think its difficult that even though sales are going up, this is concentrated on Tôkyô. Everyone wants to sell in Tôkyô and it can be quite hard in all other prefectures. In the past Izakayas had a sake menu where the sake was at least kept for 2 or 3 years but today seasonal products, monthly or daily recommendations and the like switch a lot. Of course it is nice that there is so much variety but its hard to keep track.
Q: 2. What is typical of sake from your region?
A: Saga prefecture is famous for -usually- breweing the most sweet and full bodied Sake in Japan. AMABUKI sake is an exeption since we mostly brew a dry style of sake.
Q: 3. What makes a good sake for you?
A: I think a sake that would make people who drink sake for the first time say: "Wow, I didnt know sake could taste this delicious!".
Q: 4. What do you find fascinating about your job and what experience was particularly important for you?
A: If you want to brew sake you have to seriosly think and work hard and also give serious thoughts to the people who will drink your sake and what they may like. Putting a smile on those peoples faces when they drink your sake is a great reward. If you're convinced of your own product it is an incredible experience to see when consumers get convinced too. And I learned over the years that you have to put heart and sole in brewing your sake. Because if you don't or if you don't care about something good coming out in the end, it is impossible to get a good product.
Q: 5. How important is the international recognition of Sake?
A: Very. Of course personally but also for Japan. Most sake are brewed with regard to local food and culture and that something of that is transported overseas through sake is very important I think. And if people get interested in the prefecture or Japan in generel through this is great isn't it. Also of course it just makes you happy if you stumble upon your own sake in some restaurant overseas.
Q: 6. What do you drink in your spare time except sake?
A: I drink beer and also wine, Whisky, Shochu. Actually almost everything, it depends on the day and my mood. In the end every alcohol product has its good parts and will fit for different occasions.
Q: 7. A recommendation from one of your sake and a matching meal?
A: At the moment I would say AMAMBUKI "Rhododendron", a Junmai Daiginjo. In colder days hot, with a Fugu dish.
(The Interview has been conducted in Japanese by: Alissa Scherzer. O.T.)