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Sake Sommelier

Brewing With an Artisanal Mind

Katoukichibee Shouten


The historic city of Sabae in Fukui prefecture is the place where the long-established brewery Katoukichibee Shouten is located. The city flourished as a temple town in the 13th century, and it became a castle town in the 18th century. Now it’s known as a city of craftsmanship that is filled with artisans who produce traditional crafts including lacquer, ceramics, and cutlery. In a town rich with craftsmen DNA, Katoukichibee Shouten established itself 150 years ago and is now in its 11th generation.

Sake fans in the U.S. probably identify the brewery with the name BORN rather than remembering the brewer’s name itself. In Sanskrit “BORN” means “purity” and “striking truth,” as well as stands for “birth to the future” and “creativity.” This word represents the brewery’s strong belief that “a bright future awaits those who put in the effort and as long as one is alive, one can always reset their life no matter how many mistakes he/she makes.” With this encouraging and uplifting spirit, Katoukichibee Shouten produces only junmai type sake and has amassed more than 50 kinds.  They use underground water from the local Hakusan Mountain range pumped from a well 184 meters (about 604 feet) deep.  They also employ the best sake rice, Yamadanishiki and Gohyakumangoku, as well as their original house kobo yeast. The average milling rate of the sake rice is less than 40%, which means that their sake is extremely high quality, and it goes through a long-term fermentation stage at freezing point to receive a sophisticated flavor.

Six types of BORN sake are available in the U.S.: “BORN: Dreams Come True,” “BORN: Wing of Japan,” “BORN: Muroka Nama Genshu,” “BORN: Tokusen Junmai Daiginjo,” “BORN: The Earth,” and “BORN: Iceberg.” Though each exhibits its own distinctive flavor, what you can get the most pleasure from is the taste of artisanship passed down in the brewery for generations. Their sake has been granted numerous international and domestic awards, proving that it should be appreciated on the global market.


Katoukichibee Shouten
1-11 Yoshie-cho, Sabae-shi,
Fukui, JAPAN 916-0001
TEL: 0778-51-1507
FAX: 0778-23-1406

Three things you should know about Katoukichibee Shouten

1. The keeper of the shrine

Katoukichibee Shouten represents and administers the prestigious Yoshie Shrine that enshrines noble men who governed the territory during the Edo period. The shrine is also known for worshipping the god of water. This is just one example of how they cherish the water they use for sake brewing.

2. Sake served in the accession ceremony of the Showa Emperor

When the Showa Emperor succeeded to the throne about 85 years ago, Katoukichibee Shouten’s sake was served in the ceremony. It was selected because of the achievement of their sake receiving the highest prize in a local competition for four consecutive years. It was the first time that a locally produced craft sake was chosen for such an honorable occasion.

3. A dramatic mindset inhabits Sabae

Katoukichibee Shouten’s hometown is the place where “the father of playwrights,” Monzaemon Chikamatsu, spent his youth. He is known as the Eastern Shakespeare, and you still can see many historic landmarks in the area and feel Chikamatsu’s dramatic spirit.