Matsuse Brewery Co., Ltd

Matsuse Brewery Co., Ltd

Sourcing rice

Beyond the quest for flavour

What we aim for through our sourcing

Japanese sake is made from a mixture of rice and water, fermented by microorganisms. Rice in particular has received more attention in recent years as consciousness of the environment increases, resulting in a gradual shift towards organic farming and away from synthetic fertilisers.

Environmental awareness in Shiga Prefecture is high and local residents are united by a strong desire to protect the natural resources of Lake Biwa※1 as seen in the area's popular "soap powder movement" in the heyday of synthetic detergents containing organophosphates. Stringent measures have been taken to clean up water flowing into the lake, such as the Environmentally Sensitive Agricultural Produce certification scheme established in 2001, initiatives to halve the use of agricultural chemicals and synthetic fertilisers, and educational activities aimed at preventing inflow of contaminated water.

※1 Lake Biwa is the region's source of clean drinking and agricultural water.

In search of unique local flavour

In 1988 we started using rice grown locally in our home village of Ryuou or from the old Tojo area of Hyogo Prefecture※2 (rated Special A regions), mainly Yamadanishiki grown by farmers under direct contract. We then switched to using only rice grown under our own contracts from 1992 as we sought a more elegant and refined flavour in our sake.

Thanks to our contract farmers, all fields producing our rice were certified for Environmentally Sensitive Agricultural Produce in 2002, and we started growing organic rice without synthetic fertiliser in the 2003 growing season. This rice is used for our AZOLLA sake.

※2 The old Tojo area of Hyogo prefecture is famous as one of the main rice and sake production areas in Japan, and holds a special place in the history of sake making.

Seeking out the finest fields

Our commitment to the environment is not just about differentiating our products. We want to leave the finest fields to the next generation so that the flavour unique to this area, from the delicious rice grown here, will live on along with Ryuou's beautiful natural environment. This is our way of giving thanks to our region and forging a link with generations to come.

From beginning to end

Our commitment to cultivation through direct contract means that all the polished rice we use to make sake is our own carefully grown crop. We watch over the rice carefully as it grows under the different conditions that our climate brings each year. The crop is also affected by the position of the fields in Ryuou, with some on level ground and others at the base of the mountains. All these factors are taken into account when selecting the rice used to make each sake. After selection, we adjust our milling data to suit the variety of sake rice, keeping a watchful eye on every step in the preparation of raw ingredients from cultivation through to processing. This allows us to draw out the full quality of the rice that our fields in Ryuou are blessed with.