Sake vol.10 - Visiting Heiwa Shuzo「Kido・Muryozan」


Hello! I'm Kanno of Hasegawa Liquor Store - sales department. Accompanied by Kawashima in sales department who visited Eikun Shuzo in Shizuoka prefecture previously, we head to Heiwa Shuzo in Wakayama prefecture while the excitement of visiting Hyogo prefecture Kurodasho still remained. In speaking of Wakayama prefecture, there are plenty of delicious food such as Kishu plum, mandarin orange, peach, and seafood from Kuroshio Ichiba market. Though we only talked mostly about food last time, this time we will carry out a preliminary investigation not only of food but also of other things in Wakayama prefecture, since the signature brand name of Heiwa Shuzo is 「Kido」, which represents the custom of Kishu. Kouyasan, also known as the City of the Sky, was founded by Kukai master, and possesses many important cultural properties and national treasures. We also did research on the 6 lovely pandas that are in the care of Adventure World in Shirahama! (Laugh)


In speaking of Heiwa Shuzo, it is not only known for its' Japanese sake, but also for their production of fruity liqour and craft beer. We'll present the the full on charm of Heiwa Shuzo to you. Please join in with us until the end.




Management of sanitation

The brewery has the most advanced equipments and maintenance of every small part are carefully considered. The building's 150 years history doesn't seem to show in its' facade. To maintain temperature in the wooden brewery, we persistently use wooden structures instead of concrete structures, and uses Kakishibu paint to paint the exterior of the building, which we repaint every year. Circulation of brewery is matted so that dirt would be removed from sole while moving and makes effort to preventing the spread of insanitation. What's more, each brew tool has its own place and it is quiet impressive how neatly arranged they are.


▲The facility is covered with floor mats.


▲Ceiling and wall are painted by Kakishibu paint every year. And it gives a sense of cleanliness.




Managing director Yamamoto aims at “manualization” of brew sake in consideration of the nescessity for the creators to devise their own ideas and propose better ideas. Rather than relying only on experience and intuition, If the Manual has a shared knowledge among the people, it will serve as a base for further development. “Tarai Kōji” (Koji* in washbasin) is a scheme adopted by it. In the kōji production for Ginjō sake, it is common to use a wooden casket (kojibako) as a storage. The kojibako benefits from the air permeability of the wood, and at the same time develops the drying of the rice and the hazecomi**. However, the control becomes difficult because you have to be aware of two things at the same time. On the other hand, since the moisture does not escape from the plastic washbasin, it is necessary to keep the basin well dry before the work is completed. Once the koji is transferred in the basin, the manage become easier as only the process of hazecomi goes on. It is said that by focusing on one thing the koji stayed stable and give a new rythm of work.


*Koji 麹菌 Sake mould (fungus), Aspergillus oryzae

**Hazecomi 破精(はぜ)growth state of koji-kin


▲Managing director Yamamoto who introduced “Tarai Koji” to us. Using plastic washbasin keeps ferment stable.


The equipment in examination room is quiet sufficient as well. It is common to get to a brew laboratory and examine the component inside products in other prefectures. Refering to the professor when problem comes out is also accessible. However, Wakayama prefecture has to import rice and export Umeshu. Though Umeshu brew professor can be found in Wakayama prefecture, it is hard to find a Japanese sake brew supervisor in Wakayama prefecture. In order to examine the product independently, Heiwa brewery collects the equipment that is needed.


▲Sufficient examination equipment. A key to maintain the taste that has been loved by people.



To create a brewery where staffs are willing to continue their careers.

Since managing director Yamamoto has been in charge of recruitment, he changes the policy into recruiting 100% new graduates. Accompanied with a higher ratio of female staffs, the difference of physical strength between male and female becomes obvious. Lightening the weight of equipment and adding more plastic tools also make efforts to enable male and female staffs doing the same job. What's more, it is rare to find a brewery like Heiwa Shuzo that owns more than 90% of staffs who are not local. So that the company dormitory is also well prepared for staffs. People who have passion on brewing sake are gathered in Heiwa Shuzo in spite of space limitation.And to boost staff's motivation of brewing sake, Heiwa Shuzo has done a lot of work.


▲The heavy iron container has been changed to a plastic one.


▲A company dormitory was established in 2018. It will certainly increases the motivation If you can live here.



The Company fields

Just beside the storehouse, there is the company's own rice field, and we are currently working on our own cultivation of Yamada rice* with 4tan of rice fields (About 3,967 square meters). We have cultivation not only of rice but also of Ume and since 3 years ago we started even cultivation of eggplant. It will be a small fraction of the total output, but the attention of the raw materials is shaping up little by little. This year, a typhoon hit when the flowering of the rice began, there was a lot of rice that was blackened because the plants were damaged or could not be well pollinated. This is a phenomenon that was not only limited in Wakayama but also in rice fields of other areas. If there is no pollination, the rice cannot be stored in the coffin, it will be hollow and the yield also will be reduced. Some people say that this year there will nor be enough sake and rice at the national level.


*Yamada rice (山田錦) is a short grain Japanese rice, famous for its use in high-quality sake.


▲Yamada group celebrates the time of harvest after overcoming the bad weather



The challange of the heiwa shuzo

It has been ten years since Executive Director Yamamoto of Heiwa shuzo, launched the "KID” brand, and it has grown into a brand that is loved and enjoyed by many people. The kanji of wind “風” (Kaze) is always added in the seasonal products and combination products of "KID”. The "KID” series is based on a light taste like the wind that blows through the mountains, the idea is to drink sake in casually and friendly. Also, regardless of the brand that has been well known so far, It is a valuable brand that keeps the price that everyone can easily get, reflecting the idea of senior management Yamamoto, who wants to raise the level of sake drink for the first time and sake for everyday use. We cannot talk about the KID brand's growth up to this point without talking about the growth of each of the worker. Hard work, studies, and capital investments have been made as much as any storehouse. In 2017, the brand that was born to demonstrate the true power of heiwa shuzō sake is “Muryōzan”! The name of the brand came from the temple Heiwa shuzo, originally called Muryōzan chōganji’. The aim was to have a thick savor that can be closely matched with the main dish of the meal, and all rice used is Yamada rice from Hyogo Prefectural Toku A. As "KID” has grown over the past 10 years, director Yamamoto said that he would like to develop "Muryōzan" slowly. I cannot help to looking forward to Muryōzan after 10 years! On this occasion please taste the sake that contains the natural flavors of Wakayama.


▲in "Muryōzan" kanji reamain traces of when it was still a temple.


*By courtesy of Hasegawa saketen special featured article



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