Kuramoto Diary #538 -【If You Add Alcohol to Sake, Choose Dassai】
“Aru Ten” refers to alcohol additive. Dassai only produces Junmai Daiginjo, so
alcohol additive is irrelevant, but please listen for a moment.
Dassai uses about 10,000 tons of Yamada Nishiki rice in a year. When calculating the
average polishing ratio of Dassai from "Beyond the Beyond" and "Polishing 20% and
30%" to "Junmai Daiginjo 45", it turns out to be 30% (surprisingly!).
This means that out of the 10,000 tons, 7,000 tons will become rice bran.
Even if we don't raise environmental concerns, with such a quantity, if it becomes
waste without proper disposal, it can be a significant problem. Until now, we have always
been concerned about finding outlets for rice bran(rice poweder), not influenced by high
or low market prices.
Among the large quantities, a major food manufacturer takes it and processes it
into mirin. Moreover, thanks to the Yamada Nishiki rice bran, the quality has improved
significantly, and we are happy to hear that they have renovated their facilities for our
Among our other business partners, there is a manufacturer of brewing alcohol.
Brewing alcohol originated in Japan around the time of the Manchurian Incident when
Japan faced a shortage of rice. To address this, the Japanese government came up with
the idea of increasing the volume of sake by adding alcohol and corn syrup to it.
Despite this bad habit continuing even after the end of World War II and the
surplus of rice, and despite the cost decreasing, the tax authorities did not find it pleasing
for the production volume to decrease and the alcohol tax to decrease. Thus, it has
remained in the sake brewing industry. Even today, over 80% of the total production
volume of Japanese sake is sake with added alcohol.
However, the term "alcohol additive" used here has a slightly different meaning
from a simple cost reduction measure. If you wipe your palm with cotton soaked in
alcohol, you'll notice that it can remove dirt. In other words, alcohol can enter the tissues
such as pores and pull out dirt from within.
In the case of sake, this action is useful. When added to the moromi (mash) of
Daiginjo before squeezing, it enters the tissues of the rice in the moromi and pulls out
the remaining aroma. In other words, adding alcohol makes the aroma of Daiginjo even
When aiming for top rankings in contests, this heightened aroma exerts
overwhelming power. Most breweries aim to win gold awards at sake competitions with
Daiginjo that has added alcohol, not pure rice Daiginjo. That's the meaning behind it.
By the way, the raw materials at this time are rigorously selected, unlike usual, and
it's okay for the unit price to be high.
So, the other day, when I met the president of a Tohoku alcohol manufacturer, he
thanked us, saying, "Thanks to Dassai, our alcohol is selling well." When I inquired
further, it turned out that the alcohol manufacturer buys raw material alcohol from the
aforementioned alcohol manufacturer, which Dassai supplies. And the raw material for
that alcohol is Dassai's rice bran. At some point, using that alcohol began to be rumored
within the network of sake breweries, saying that it increases the rate of winning awards
at competitions. Orders started coming in from various breweries, and now over 30
companies specifically order "that alcohol."
While Dassai itself does not add alcohol, indirectly it ends up being used by other
breweries and becomes a powerful rival in contests. Oh my!
By the way, to all the farmers who grow Yamada Nishiki for Dassai, this shows
how excellent Yamada Nishiki rice is! When Mos Burger (famous burger chain
restaurant) made Dassai Shake with our (of course) raw material, Yamada Nishiki sake
lees, they were surprised by the deliciousness. Yamada Nishiki is an amazing rice.
Recently, various prefectures are developing sake rice with fanfare, but I have only heard,
"We have created rice that can compete with Yamada Nishiki."
Yamada Nishiki! Banzai!