The sake evolution
After 400 years in the business, this brewery knows the secret to keeping traditions alive.
Among cobblestone streets where geishas still walk lies Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery. This traditional brewery was founded in 1625 in Kanazawa City, a place that has come to be known as “Little Kyoto”—but that’s also grown to be an important city in its own right as a place that has seamlessly bridged the new and the old. Kanazawa is a castle town that was ruled by the Maeda family for three centuries, and it has preserved many of the traditions and artisanal crafts of the past—while also embracing contemporary tastes. And the same can be said for Fukumitsuya.
At Fukumitsuya Brewery, sake making has stayed traditional and respectful of the past for nearly 400 years, but these brewers have also embraced modern techniques along the way—making this a company that truly fits in with the duality of Kanazawa City. Committed to only brewing traditional junmai sakes (sakes made without the addition of distilled alcohol), Fukumitsuya’s house style is elegant and refined, complementing the local culinary scene. With a bounty of seafood such as crab and yellowtail available straight from the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa enjoys fresh ingredients all year round. Fukumitsuya’s sakes are brewed with these local flavours in mind: their subtle tastes are designed to pair perfectly with the gentle dashi flavours and the fresh seasonal ingredients that characterize Kanazawa’s cuisine.
One of Fukumitsuya’s standout sakes is the Kagatobi Gokkan Junmai, made traditionally in the junmai style. True to history, it is brewed only during the coldest months of the year to ensure a long, steady fermentation period. The result is a sake that is clean and fresh, with notes of squash and cucumber, while also being full of acidity and umami to complement your meal. Structured, round and full-bodied on the palate, this sake can also be gently warmed to bring out the sweetness of the rice.
Not only is the interplay of past and future a key ingredient in this sake—but you can also see it play out right on the packaging. The Kagatobi Gokkan Junmai comes in a beautiful can depicting the four seasons of Kanazawa and paying tribute to the courageous Kagatobi, the firemen who protected Kanazawa Castle during the 18th century. True to form, the cans are a nod to the past while fully embracing modern applications. So what’s the secret behind this brewery that has thrived for nearly four centuries? At Fukumitsuya, the motto is simple: “Tradition is a series of continuous evolution.” And this motto is evident in everything it does. While staying grounded in the tried and true traditions of the past, Fukumitsuya is always looking ahead.
Region: Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
Rice: Yamadanishiki rice blend
Rice polish ratio: 65%
Sake meter value: +4
Serving temperature: Chilled, room temperature or warmed*
*Note: To enjoy this sake warm, always take off the metal lid first, then place it in a pot of
warm water. Warm to a maximum temperature of 60 degrees Celsius.
Price: $9.99 for a 180-mL can (LCBO
Vintages Release June 2015)