Sohomare Shuzo (1872)
Run by the Kono family since the brewery's establishment, Sohomare has with time become specialized in making sake with the Kimoto brewing method and the prized sake rice strain Yamada Nishiki. This combination creates a unique form of sake, for which they are famous for in Japan. Sohomares current Kuramoto (brewery owner) Jun Kono traveled to France in the 1980s, where he studied the language and wine culture before taking over the family brewery in 1989. The stay in France left a significant influence on the specific taste ideal that Sohomare aspires to today.
When Mr Kono became Sohomares fifth generation Family owner in 1989 he decided shortly after that the brewery should specialize in making Kimoto sake as their primary output (see our text on Kimoto Sake for more).
The brewery puts great emphasis on the quality of the Yamada Nishiki rice that they use for their Kimoto Sake. They source this rice from the Yokawa region of Hyogo Prefecture, one of highest ranked rice fields in Japan. Sohomare uses only two different rice strains for all their Sake, whose contrasts are cleverly played up against each other. The second rice strain is Gohakyomangoku, a hybrid rice variety that was developed in Niigata Prefecture to account for the very low mineral content in the spring water of this region. Gohakyomangoku is now used in many other regions in Japan, primarily for producing Ginjo Sake, with the aim of making light and aromatic Sake. Sohomare uses the Modern Sokujo brewing method with its locally sourced Gohakyomangoku rice, creating crisp and floral Junmai Ginjo and Junmai Daiginjo that neatly counter balances their full body Kimoto Sakes.
All Sake rice (Sakemai) is milled at the brewery with a state of the art milling machine that uses the “flat polishing” method. This form of rice polishing preserves the original, ellipse shape of the rice grains for improved fermentation capability.
Sohomare source their brewing water from a deep well beneath the brewery, one of the primary reasons for its geographical location. The water itself is soft, containing a well balanced minerality which is ideal for making Kimoto Sake.
In close proximity with the brewery lies a small town called Mashiko, famous for its pottery. The celebrated modern ceramist Hamada Shoji based his workshop and kiln in a traditional Minka style farmhouse outside Mashiko in the 1970s. His influence and presence contributed to the rich ceramic environment found there today. To have a legacy of resident artists such as Hamada Shoji and Shimaoka Tatsuzō among others, is a matter of local pride.
For more info, please visit Sohomare.co.jp