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  • Glynn

Sake and its future

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

Developing Sake



“Sake and its consumption had proven over 2000 years to also have many health benefits. .”

Throughout its history sake has developed in stages. From the early days of kuchikami-zake that was produced by chewing on rice grains, then being spat into a vat, along with natural yeast and let stand to produce a form of alcohol. Then came the cultivation and addition of koji-kinmould around 1000 A.D. to promote the conversion of starch into sugar and then alcohol.

Until the late nineteenth century, the brewing of sake had been a bit of a ‘hit and miss affair’ and had become just a seasonal occupation, as lower temperatures during winter benefited the process. But that was all about to change when the Gekkeikan company started to explore the possibilities of having more control over the brewing process and all year round production. In 1909 the Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute was established.

Using a science-based approach to brewing yielded great results and a few years later the first bottle of preservative-free sake was sold (1911), an all-new automated bottling plant was then opened in 1931 and the Otegura brewing plant was completed in 1961 to become the first ever all season sake brewing facility. Sake production hit new heights fully launching it into the modern age of the twentieth century.

Sake and its consumption had proven over the 2000 years to also have many health benefits. Containing organic compounds such as amino and ferulic acids, saccharides and glycerol, amongst others, all contributing to healthy complexions. As an example, an experiment took place where a one-liter bottle of sake was added to 200 liters of bathwater and resulted in better heat retention within the water and provided a moisturizing effect on the skin. Of course, application to the skin of products, containing sake concentrate, is a more traditional way of enjoying a soft complexion. With ongoing testing and verification of this drinks properties and benefits, sake is being shown to support the reduction of many ailments and the immune system, with fewer risks of developing various cancers, shrinking or killing existing cancer cells and helping with cholesterol.

Being consumed over a prolonged period of time and in moderation can yield the above benefits. And drinking together with some pleasurable company, this wonderful brew provides an enjoyable and positive way to support a healthy lifestyle. With Gekkeikan’s addition to its range of a sparkling sake, it can also be enjoyed whilst celebrating a special occasion or casualy with friends. The future of sake brewing looks great!

I would like to thank Mr. Katsuharu Fukuda part of Gekkeikan’s public relations division for taking time out to give me an interview and educate us about the science of brewing sake (October 2018).


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