It can be said that some things are out of date. Sakae Soy Sauce Brewery, despite the government ordinance on modernizing production, continues to brew the traditional way. In addition, this brewery keeps track of past data such as the quality of their products, or the customers who have continuously supported the brewery.
Founded in the 7th year (1610) of the Edo Period, Sakae Brewery is located in the castle town Yokosuka in Kakegawa, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Sakae was originally called Fukaya Brewery. With the desire to make customers feel happy, the original brewers created a soy sauce called “sakae,” meaning “prosperous.” As this name gradually became familiar, the brewery changed its name to Sakae Soy Sauce Brewery.
“I thought that I was the fifth generation to own this brewery, but when the Tenpo Era Educational Policies came out (1830?1844), I found out that I was actually the seventh generation,” said
There is a saying for “someone who is very behind the times.” Currently, it’s seen as a good thing to keep old?fashioned or traditional methods of brewing soy sauce, using only domestic soybeans or kioke (large wooden barrel). But in the days when mechanization and mass production were being promoted, you would have been seen as outdated or backwards.
Masuhiro Fukaya?san, 7th generation owner.
“Smart people shifted to mass production, and mechanized their breweries. The management diversified, and their sales steadily increased. But over time, almost everyone started to quit from the soy sauce industry. I still stuck to using raw materials, and produced soy sauce the old?fashioned way. Now, I feel like I caught up with the times, or I feel like I am finally accepted among the public,” said Fukaya?san.
Kioke barrels all lined up in the brewery.
The equipment to crush roasted wheat has a beautiful shape.
Over the course of time, warehouses are repeatedly added or repaired. That is why the height of the roofs varies.
Careful maturation and fermentation occurs in 30 kioke barrels. Each kioke barrel holds a volume of 30 stones, or about 5,400 liters (1,188 gallons).
When it comes to craftsmanship, years of experience and intuition are often considered important. However, Fukaya?san changes that perception. Detailed data on preparation, temperature management, and salinity of the water is recorded on Microsoft Excel.
Before the release of the popular Windows95, Fukaya?san used a system called Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS?DOS). Many people thought he looked like a scientist when he used the MS?DOS. However, Fukaya?san believes, “Intuition is more important than precise data management. But to have the balance of precision, which is backed up by the data, and the intuition of a craftsman, is key. This method of managing still supports Sakae Soy Sauce Brewery today.”
Factory manager Shinsuke Furukawa?san is a skilled young craftsman.
Moromi, or main fermenting mash, is poured into a bag and pressed for refinement. Although this refinement process is laborious, the soy sauce will be very delicious.
Many soy sauce breweries will have a small store attached. They are not to be sold to wholesalers or retailers, but rather, sold to the neighbors next door, or visitors from distant places. “I don’t want to produce large batches of soy sauce. I want to produce qualitative soy sauce to treat our visitors,” says Fukaya?san. After trying some of the soy sauce at Sakae, I found that Fukaya?san is true to his word, and that the soy sauce is made with affection.
I asked Fukaya?san, “What do you value the most when making soy sauce?” and he responded, “To gain trust. To cherish what our ancestors have passed down to us, and constantly undergo trial and error in order to gain trust from the customers. It is very dangerous to think that everything is fine, when there is always room for improvement.” I found his response to be quite remarkable.
Masuhiro Fukaya?san using hand gestures to explain the movement on microorganisms to Makoto?san (future 8th generation owner).
The composition of Sakae Soy Sauce has not changed much since its creation. This soy sauce is naturally?brewed in kioke barrels. With a faint, fruity aroma, this soy sauce pairs well with kamaboko (steamed seasoned fish paste).
Price: \428 + tax
Ingredients: soybeans (non?GMO), wheat, salt
38 Yokosuka, Kakegawa, Shizuoka Prefecture 〒437-1301