Ontario’s first sake brewery uses traditional Japanese brewing methods and pure Ontario spring water.
Ontario Spring Water Sake Company imports timehonoured practices as the first sake brewery in Ontario. By combining ingredients and methods vetted in Japan for centuries with the pure spring water of Northern Ontario, the company makes high-quality sake locally accessible. Ontario’s debut sake company makes its home in Toronto’s Distillery District. It was founded in 2011 and though relatively new to the sake game, the brand launched under the tutelage of Miyasaka Brewing Co., a sake giant in Japan with roots dating back to the 1600s. The company has also consulted with Master Brewer Yoshiko Takahashi, an award-winning brewer from Nagano, Japan. And Ontario Spring Water Sake Company is a member of the Brewing Society of Japan.
The company follows the traditional practice of brewing Junmai sake, which means its sake is made with only rice, yeast and water. One of its bestsellers is the Izumi Gold. Izumi means “spring water” in Japanese, and true to its name, the brewery uses natural spring water from Muskoka—which is similar in quality to the water of Kyoto’s famous Fushimi spring. The other key ingredient is imported Yamada Nishiki rice. Yamada Nishiki has been considered the gold standard in sake rice for decades due to its absorbent quality, delicious flavour and fine texture.
Izumi Gold has a smooth, easy-drinking feel with a mild rice flavour, and it finishes dry. Try pairing it with savoury foods like pork dumplings. If you’re considering picking up a bottle, the “Sakepolitan” cocktail is another must-try. This unique cocktail features Muskoka cranberries, lime and yuzu with a rich sake base that deeply infuses the berry and citrus flavours.
If you’re in the Toronto area, stop by the brewery and sample what Ontario Spring Water Sake has on offer. The company runs tours at its headquarters in the Distillery District, where $15 gets you a one-hour tour and a tasting of four sake samples, including the Sakepolitan. Tours usually happen on weekends, but private tours can be booked throughout the week.
Ontario Spring Water Sake Company’s products, including Izumi Gold, can be found at restaurants throughout Canada as well as the LCBO. ontariosake.com