Kazuaki Kuwada 1980 Sake
Real Japanese Sake Direct From Hollister By KEITH MURAORA Sentinel Staff Writer HOLLISTER - The first and only facility in the United States designed and built exclusively exclusively for the production of ' sake Japan's traditional rice wine was officially opened here last week. More than 700 persons, including including dignitaries from Japan, attended the grand opening ceremonies ceremonies of Ozeki San Benito Inc. on Wednesday. Not only is the new firm one of only two producers of sake in the United States, but it represents one of the few California corporations formed as a joint venture of Japanese and American companies. companies. Ozeki Sake Brewing Co. is the third largest sake brewer in Japan, with a history dating back to 1711. In this unique corporation, it teamed up with Kikkoman Shoyu, JFC International International of South San Francisco and San Benito Orchards of Hollister. Why Hollister? The answer is not to be confused will a well-known well-known well-known American beer slogan it's the water. Kazuaki Kuwada, executive vice presidentsecretary of Ozeki San Benito, lauded Hollister for its fine, deep, well water. "We simply found the water best in Hollister," he said. "The result was exactly the same or maybe even better sake than in Japan. That was a big surprise and we're very proud of that." Bunjiro Osabe, chairman of the OSI board and president of Ozeki, who came all the way from the base office in Japan, Nishinomiya, agreed. "OSI sake surprised a lot of people with its incredible taste," he said. "There are a great number of eyes watching this new factory. With the fine-water fine-water fine-water and 270 years of experience, experience, we have no doubts we will succeed." Osabe also cited other reasons reasons for the Hollister choice. Ozeki wanted a plant in the United States in order to become become even more widely known. California was selected since it represents the largest sake market in the country, is close to shipping lines and the rice used is grown in the Sacramento Sacramento Valley. "The price of Japan rice has skyrocketed," added Osabe. "It can not compete with counterparts counterparts in the rest of the world. The price of rice here is one-third one-third one-third the cost." Ozeki furnished the technical knowledge, with San Benito Orchards Orchards overseeing the factory operation, according to David Flores, co-founder co-founder co-founder of the San Benito company and managing director of OSI. The technical knowledge runs deep. The brewmaster, or toji as he is called in Japan, is Minoru Inao, with 30 years of experience. The traditional Japanese method of brewing is followed no preservatives, no additives, additives, nothing but pure water and premium California rice. OSI cultivates its own exclusive yeast starter, using strains from Japan. Every step of producing the sake, from rice polishing to bottling, is done on the premises premises of the Hollister plant. Production began in December at the 18.000-square-foot 18.000-square-foot 18.000-square-foot 18.000-square-foot 18.000-square-foot plant in order to produce both sake and mirin (cooking wine). The latter, sold under the Kikkoman brand name, will also be nationally nationally distributed.