Fukunotomo Brewing

Fukunotomo Shuzo Co., Ltd. was established in 1913 in Jingûji Town, which is located in Senboku County. Jingûji Town eventually merged with Kita-Naraoka village, and it is now called Kamioka Town. Although it is a relatively new brewery compared to those operating during Akita’s long history of saké production, it has been in business for more than a century.
The name “Fukunotomo” is taken from the Chinese charac-ters used in the names of the two founders: “Fuku” (good luck) from Shûichi Fukuda and “Tomo” (friend) from To-mogorô Takahashi. Fukuda was the first president of the company, and Takahashi was the brewery’s brilliant Tôji (Head Brewer). The name of the brewery represents the co-operation between these two important figures in its histo-ry.
From ancient times, Akita has been blessed with rich, natural groundwater, the majority of which is soft water. However, due to its location in the prefecture’s southeastern plains of Senboku, Kamioka Town has exceptional access to slightly harder water branching from the Omono River. This water is used not only as the base material for the saké but also for the entire brewing process. Thanks to the abundant water re-sources and active rice farming culture of the region, this small town includes two saké breweries: Fukunotomo and Kariho.
As the Tôji for Fukunotomo Brewery, Tôgorô Satô has brewed saké for more than half a century. Masatsune Ha-naoka (cf. “A History of Akita’s Saké” in this booklet), the key person in the history of saké production in Akita, was his master. Tôgorô strictly followed Hanaoka’s brewing method and refused to cater to modern trends. From Janu-ary to February, the brewery is covered in deep snow, al-lowing the saké to be preserved in a perfect, stable temper-ature. The excellent air purity is also one of the benefits of such heavy snowfall. This suitable climate and the tradi-tional techniques (which have been carefully maintained according to the original style) are the two pillars of brew-ing. Under these conditions, moromi (unrefined saké) is slowly fermented over a long period. This brewing method gives the saké a magnificent, smooth taste.