Interview with Katsuyama brewery Tôji (brewmaster): Mr. Goto

Q: 1. What developments in the Sake World are you currently finding particularly interesting? 

A: I've been making sake for 20 years now. During this time, the world of sake has changed a lot. The sake and also pairing variations have increased very much. Everything used to be very strict, especially the style of sake. Today they release one new, unusual sake after another on the market. Katsuyama sake should of course be able to keep up. The sake, which we produce here one can drink particularly well to the western cuisine. It's a very interesting development that sake is brewed much more often so that it goes well with western cuisine.

Q: 2. What is typical of sake from your region?

A: This area is rather cold and mainly mild, light sake is produced. But I have learned to brew sake in Niigata, where more strong sake is common.

Q: 3. What do you find fascinating about your job and what experience was particularly important for you?

A:  My job is very „analog” in this digital world. It is therefore very interesting.

I have studied bio technology. In other words, microbe studies. Usually this knowledge is used in the chemical and medical industry and there you can not taste what you make. But as a sake brewer I can directly check what I do. My work is closely linked with our everyday life and still has this sensitive chemical side of science. I find that extremely important.


Q: 4. How important is the international recognition of Sake?

A:  To be perfectly honest, it would be easier for us to sell in other countries and not within Europe. European countries have a long history and their own culture that they are proud of. It's difficult to get a grip on outsiders. But I like the challenge. We sell our products in Europe because we want to try to create a bond and to contribute to cultural exchange. I learn a lot here. I hope that my sake fits in with other kitchens and is not caught in the traditional frame alone.

Q: 5. What do you drink in your spare time except sake?

A: At home, I do not actually drink sake, because sake reminds me of work (laughs). To relax I go with wine or whiskey.

Q: 6. A recommendation from one of your sake and a matching meal?

A: I used to live by the sea and today as well the sea is very close. So you have a lot of seafood here. I know I said before I do not drink sake at home, but I personally like shrimp very much and when I make it at home I like to drink our sake KATSUYAMA Ken, which pairs very well.

(The Interview has been conducted in Japanese by: Alissa Scherzer. O.T.