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Sake Sommelier

Sake Receives Global Recognition

Dassai / Asahi Shuzo

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“What we aim for is ‘sexy’ flavor. It may be paraphrased as smooth, mellow, round and aromatic sake,” says Kazuhiro Sakurai, the executive vice president of Asahi Shuzo. This microbrewery brews only the DASSAI brand, whose lineups are all junmai daiginjo, the highest quality type. In this way, they maintain high product quality and constantly explore ideal flavors. This unyielding philosophy and their steadfast efforts have allowed the brand’s name to spread internationally.

In the U.S., there are five types of Dassai brands available, and all of them are known for their sophisticated tastes. Dassai 23, which has the highest milling rate of rice, is like the diamond of sake. It boasts a crystal clear flavor and elegant aroma. Dassai 39 has a bit richer than 23. Dassai 50 can be enjoyed on a wide variety of occasions thanks to its refined flavor. Dassai Nigori is an unfiltered sake. Unlike standard unfiltered sake whose sweetness stands out, its sweetness is reserved. The newest to be introduced, Dassai Sparkling Nigori, is a unique type of sake whose kobo yeast is still fermenting in the bottle, causing champagne-like bubbling.

Mr. Sakurai emphasizes, “We plan to sell half of our products overseas, and we really hope that everyone in the world will enjoy Dassai, not just trying it as a novelty from Japan.” In addition to the U.S. market, the Dassai brand is enjoyed in 15 other countries outside of Japan. It is remarkable that such a tiny brewery, which produces as little as 300 tanks per year, gets so much worldwide acclaim. Mr. Sakurai explains, “We make efforts to focus on brewing the best sake, so we make only the junmai daiginjo type by using the highest quality ingredients of rice and local water. Actually, our local water is soft water and it is not usually considered good for brewing sake. However, it turned out that the soft water we use is perfect for junmai daiginjo type, which requires a slow brewing process. We would be thrilled if we could impress customers enough to hear them say, ‘This is delicious!’” New Yorkers are one of the hardest types of people to please in terms of cuisine. The Dassai brand appeals to such selective, refined New Yorkers.

Three things you should know about DASSAI / ASAHI SHUZO

1. Asahi Shuzo uses only Yamadanishiki rice

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Yamadanishiki is known as optimal for sake brewing. For cost-performance and production efficiency reasons, few breweries use only Yamadanishiki, but Asahi Shuzo dares to confront these challenges in order to keep its top-level quality.

2. Producing only junmai daiginjo

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Junmai daiginjo is the type of sake whose milling rate is in the highest range, meaning it is of the highest quality. Advanced techniques and constant attention are also required to produce this type. With a philosophy of providing the tastiest sake they can make, Asahi Shuzo produces only junmai daiginjo type sake.

3. Asahi Shuzo receives worldwide attention

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Every year, they accept more than ten trainees outside of Japan, who are enthusiastic in learning their sake brewing technique, business strategy and philosophy. Most of them are professionals like sommeliers, restaurateurs, and brewers.

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Asahi Shuzo
2167-4, Osogoe, Shuto, Iwakuni,
Yamaguchi-ken, JAPAN
TEL: 0827-86-0120
Dassai_sakurai@asahishuzo.ne.jp
http://asahishuzo.ne.jp/english/index.html

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