Masumi, located in Suwa, Nagano prefecture, was founded by the Miyasaka family in 1662. It is one of Japan’s most historically important breweries. The name “Masumi” means transparency or truth and is taken from an 8th century bronze mirror of the same name kept at the Suwa Taisha shinto shrine, which the brewery has provided ceremonial sake to for centuries. The brewery’s sake was a favorite of many important Edo-period historical figures, including Matsudaira Tadateru, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu’s sixth son, and Otaka Gengo, one of the forty-seven rōnin. Naotaka Miyasaka is the brewery’s current president and is devoted to carrying on his family’s legacy of superior sake production, while introducing sustainable practices.

Masumi is renowned for its original, superior sake yeast, “Kyotai #7”. In 1946, Masumi swept the top awards at the regional and national sake appraisals, which got the attention of the brewing institute’s yeast scientist, Dr. Shoichi Yamada. Dr. Yamada visited the brewery and confirmed the presence of a very fine yeast in the fermentation tanks. “Brewing Association Yeast Number Seven” soon became the favorite of brewers across the nation and remains even today the most widely used sake yeast in the world. The number seven in use today has a different character than the original yeast discovered back in the forties. The original number seven had a brilliant, fruity fragrance known as “ginjo fragrance.” Today’s number seven is milder, and strikes a better balance between aroma and flavor. One could say it produces a more mature, grown-up sake than in its youth.

Sustainability: “Depletion of natural resources, pollution, toxic waste… solving such global problems may seem beyond our reach, but we strive to be kind to the environment and to our customers. Here are some small steps we’ve taken:
– Reduce energy consumption and lower emissions.
– Simplify product packaging to reduce waste.
– Use 100% of our rice flour—return the rough flour to farmers for feed and fertilizer, make the fine flour into the shochu spirit base of our fruit liquors.
– Print Braille on all our bottles and gift boxes to guide the visually impaired.”

Watch: Brewing at Masumi

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