The Story of Kikunosato Brewery
In one corner of the Nasunogahara Plains, overlooked by Mt. Nasudake to the north and Mt. Yamizosan in the east, the long-flourishing village of Yuzukamimura is steeped in history, home to ancient samurai burial mounds and Nasu No Kuninomiyatsuko No Hi. The latter, built in the 7th Century, is one of Japan’s three most important ancient carved stone monuments and has been designated as a national treasure. It was in this village that the brewery was first established in 1866 (Year 2 of the Keio Period) creating delicious sake varieties like Ichiryu and Kimi no Tomo for generations. In 1955 (Showa, Year 30), the brewery was reborn as Kiku no Sato Shuzo, and the sake we create has been loved by many ever since.
Origin of the Brand Name Daina
Our brewery is found in the middle of rural farmland at the southern tip of Nasu Kogen highlands. With Nasu River and its tributaries, Hoki River and Sabi River, all flowing through the village, spring water can be found all around the village, making it an active region for agriculture and rice cultivation since ancient times. We were born and raised in this great land and have been engaged in sake brewing for a long time. Our desire is to create sake which embodies our respect for the abundant goods proffered by the vast Nasu land and shows our appreciation for the inputs of rice, water, soil, people, skills, and locale. Thus we chose the brand name 大那Daina: the first character 大 or “dai" means great or vast; the second, read as “na", comes from the name of the region “Nasu". We feel it is very important to continue making our agricultural product, Daina, and to continuously express this notion of gratitude to the land.
Faces of the Brewery
A very small-scale brewery run by four people–two generations in one family plus two employees–each year we produce just 400 koku, equivalent to 40,000 1.8-liter bottles. We brew sake from late October to early April. The chief brewer or toji, responsible for overall sake production, is managing director, Makoto Akutsu.
The Sake Qualities We Aim For
Our aim is to produce sake that is full-bodied and yet has a clean aftertaste and good balance – sake that can be enjoyed with meals and actually enhances the flavors of the food. The table is adorned with foods that vary with the changing seasons, and there you find Daina. It is with this image in our mind that we produce our sake. We believe that the key to delicious sake is gentle, rounded acidity coupled with a sharpness that does not linger, helping the sake go down smoothly.
Our fundamental sales path is direct dealing with specialty stores who know and love sake. We do not take telephone or Internet orders from new customers.
In our sake brewing, we focus on the Gohyakumangoku rice variety grown in Tochigi Prefecture. Six years ago we commenced full-scale contractual rice cultivation and established the “Daina Sake Rice Study Group." These efforts at making the faces of the rice farmers known are an expression of our dedication to safe and assured sake production. In keeping with the Daina brand, our goal is to make 100% local sake packed with the bounties of this vast Nasu land. (All the rice production is undertaken with reduced use of agricultural chemicals.)