Saiya Brewing

Yatarô Saitô established this brewery in 1902. The residence, store, warehouse, and 11 buildings (all registered national cultural properties) stand as they did more than 100 years ago. The structure of the store is built in a traditional man-ner, but it also has large, decorated eaves and a second floor with a unique design influenced by Western architecture. Located on the back side of the premises are three large warehouses made of clay. Together with the front gate and book storage building, which also has historical importance, they illus-trate how the local industry developed at the turn of the 20th century.
During the Edo era, the Ishiwaki area of Yurihonjô City was the distribution hub of the Kameda Domain. Rice and lum-ber from Akita were distributed to Osaka from the Ishiwaki port. In order for the goods to reach the port, the Koyoshi River was used. Even today, the area includes many shops that sell specialty goods from Yurihonjô City, and a hint of the long history can still be felt in the atmosphere of the town.
In years when there is a significant amount of snow, there is an abundant harvest because that abundance of snow means an abundance of snowmelt the following year. The Saiya Com-pany cultivates and takes great pride in their own saké rice, “Akita Saké Komachi.” The excellent quality of the rice al-lows the company to create superior saké. According to the Head Brewer, if there is less protein and more water in the rice, better-quality saké will be produced.
All the steps in the production process, from cleaning the rice to shipping the saké, are performed in-house. The yeast used is also homegrown, and it has been researched and developed for more than 25 years. This homemade yeast gives the saké a unique flavor, fragrant aroma, and con-sistent quality. So different yeasts are not mixed, the utmost care is given to providing sanitary control of the unrefined saké. Furthermore, the thick, natural cedar walls of the fer-mentation room help control the humidity, thus creating an ideal environment. In this environment, the Sannai Tôji (brewing expert from Sannai Town) of the brewery imple-ments a natural brewing method in which he does not mix, add water, or filter. The original yeast invented at the brew-ery does not require stirring and the yeast is left to naturally ferment. Normally the bagged saké is pressed and filtered along with added water. However, Saiya Brewery uses a process in which these practices are not necessary, and the mellow aroma and flavor of the saké are allowed to remain in their natural states.