Finally, the quality of Dassai Blue from the New York brewery has reached a satisfactory level. After having some questionable first seven batches, I responded to everyone's questions with vague comments like, "It's good, but... Dassai's back is distant." However, it seems that we have finally caught up with the distant Dassai's back. I really think the most recent pressed sake, "Dassai Blue Type23," is excellent.

Indeed, the MM duo did well. They are selected and moved from the Japanese brewery to the United States, and they were moved because of me, an environment where everything, from life to work, was a new experience. I think they felt frustrated with my straightforward evaluation. Both of them, the first and second factory managers of Dassai (now called the brewery manager), had success experiences and confidence. It must have been tough when things didn't go well̶sleepless nights and an increase in alcohol consumption on holidays.

I want to commend both of them and the 16-year expert in making sake Mr.K, who supported them and led the local staff.

Actually, the reason behind it was incomprehensible to me too. In the midst of this, I vaguely began to see the cause within myself. The fundamental cause lay in the fundamental principles of Dassai brewery, or rather, its mindset. In other words, the cause was "me."

"It's obvious that the sake gets better when you do it up to this point. (Anyone can do it!)" - Someone on a brewery tour organized by a sake brewers' association in a certain region left this comment with a sigh. I thought it was praise and was overjoyed, but the reason for it was right here.

I often said, "Dassai is not made with the spirit of Yamato." The true meaning was that I did not want to engage in the "manufacture of sake" exploiting the goodwill and youthful enthusiasm of employees in harsh or inadequate environments common in traditional Japanese industries. In other words, I could not accept the spirit of blindly charging into the WW2 with the mentality of "If we have the Yamato spirit, we can handle anything better than America." Also, I couldn't tolerate the idea of embracing an irrational manufacturing environment in the name of "tradition." This way, we couldn't create something truly good. 

To explain it differently, watching Oda Nobunaga's battles during the Sengoku period, he only faced an overwhelming enemy with a small force in the "Battle of Okehazama." The rest of the time, he prepared overwhelming forces against the enemy. In other words, preparing an "environment where you can definitely win" is essential.

I applied the same thinking to sake brewing. Therefore, I aimed to create the most advanced, clean, and comfortable environment in the sake brewing industry, using only the best sake rice, Yamada Nishiki, ignoring direct costs and polishing the expensive Yamada Nishiki, gathering the largest manufacturing staff in Japan, thoroughly refining and pursuing "creating Dassai."

Thanks to this, we faced criticism in weekly magazines like, "I want to drink sake made by a toji wearing a t-shirt in an exposed brewery, not Dassai. Young people are making it in that building? It doesn't look like a brewery at all! I don't want to drink that kind of sake!" And we were criticized by sake enthusiasts saying, "Dassai buys too much Yamada Nishiki, causing problems for other breweries. Doesn't he have any cooperative feelings for the industry?!"

However, I continued to pursue my beliefs and pushed forward on my chosen path, not yielding to the "nostalgia" or "shrinking tendencies" of conservative sake enthusiasts or some critics. But, here was the weakness. Our manufacturing staff at the brewery knew every detail, aimed for a highly maintained manufacturing environment, innovated themselves, collaborated with local equipment vendors, and grew together with the brewery, showcasing the "best performance" and creating that Dassai.

However, in the NY brewery, the water was different, and initial troubles with facilities like pipes and air conditioning, which were unthinkable in Japan, occurred frequently. The vendors did not operate as smoothly as they did in Japan. Some compromises were unavoidable. It became an entirely different environment. We had data on the differences in water. The three of us were not soft enough to be defeated by a few facility troubles.

But even if we understood the difference in water intellectually, simulation alone was not enough. The actual outcome was unknown until we tried. Making Junmai Daiginjo (and the psychology of humans) is not straightforward, especially because the brewing philosophy has not been simplified or standardized in the sake industry, unlike beer. Many elements intertwine, and results come out. Dealing with them is human, so it's impossible to excessively respond without breaking the overall balance. Facility malfunctions add to the challenge. Moreover, my demand was for "Dassai Blue that doesn't lose to Dassai in Japan." So, like the first seven batches, it became a sake that was "Junmai Daiginjo, but not Dassai."

In a way, it was an incredibly challenging situation. No, I really think they did well under these circumstances. I plan to treat the three dispatched members from Japan to a delicious meal and plenty of drinks in Manhattan this Saturday or Sunday.