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Sake Goodness – Brewers Helping Brewers After Noto Earthquake

Sake Goodness – Brewers Helping Brewers After Noto Earthquake

Japan got off to a rough start in 2024, and no place had it worse than the Noto Peninsula in the Ishikawa region that experienced a deadly and crippling massive earthquake. We described the destruction, specifically to the sake industry, in detail in our February True Sake Newsletter and we also made February Earthquake Recovery Month by putting all Ishikawa sake on sale.

Here now to give us a very special update on the situation is the Sake Portfolio Manager for RNDC and winner of last year’s SAKE DAY International Sake Soul of the Year Award, Mrs. Tamiko Ishidate. Tamiko has been in constant contact with several brewers that are very close friends to True Sake and the entire international sake scene:

"The Noto Peninsula Earthquake seems like a bad dream from the distant past, as more current news has come to occupy people’s minds. The situation in the most affected areas, however, is far from back to normal, and the restoration effort has been painstakingly slow. Among heartbreaking images of still-collapsed buildings and cracked roads, I recently came across the most heartwarming story that I would like to share. 

I had a colleague of mine visit Mioya Brewery(Yuho Sake) in Hakui city of Ishikawa prefecture at the end of January, as part of a group touring the brewery with their importer @kome_collective. Pasteurization happened to be taking place, and upon inspection, the bottle cap revealed that the sake being pasteurized was Hakuto, made by the same-name brewery about an hour and half north of Mioya, which was devastated by the earthquake. It turns out that Miho Fujita, the president of Mioya, has accepted the two salvaged tanks from Hakuto, and pressed, bottled and pasteurized on their behalf —even as Miho herself lost a significant number of bottles in storage due to the earthquake. This story of Miho stepping up and helping another brewery that suffered an even greater loss than her own deeply moved me.

According to Akiko Hakuto, another friendly brewery helped transport a total of 4,000L of Moromi to Mioya brewery to successfully finish the sake there a couple of weeks after the quake. The article in the Chu-nichi newspaper quotes her husband Kiichi: “The sound of Moromi’s active bubbling was to me like a call for help”. Help surely came – the sake is now available in Japan for purchase. Akiko and Kiichi are also making new sakes at Mioya – 2 tanks of Junmai Ginjo from a slightly different recipe than the Tokubetsu – and look forward to releasing them in a couple of months. 

The story of brewers helping each other in a time of crisis isn’t new. This is one of many such stories, and it warms my sake heart like a perfect Nuru-kan. 

Tamiko Ishidate 

Sake portfolio Manager
Republic National Distributing Company"

“Ishikawa Support” Tasting
Tamiko will pour Hakuto “Deep Faith” Tokubetsu Junmai (last of the cases left from last year!), Yuho "Eternal Embers" Junmai and Yuho "Rhythm of the Centuries" Kimoto “jukusei” Junmai, in the two breweries’ honor. Portion of the proceeds goes to support Ishikawa prefecture breweries. 

Date: Saturday, May 4th 
Time: 2pm to 4pm

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