Naba Brewery

GINRIN, Naba Shouten’s prize saké, is brewed in a rein-forced-concrete building built in 1928. Although it is a two-story building, it is as tall as a usual four-story building, and visitors and workers can clearly see Tsuchizakiminato (“Tsuchizaki port”) in Akita City from the rooftop. Tsuchi-zakiminato is a port town, as the name shows, and in the Edo era, it prospered as a port of call for Kitamae Bune (trading ships on the coast of the Sea of Japan), which made frequent roundtrips between Hokkaido and Osaka. In the present days, factories and companies are located around the port, and commercial facilities are situated along the highway.
Minato Castle used to sit approximately 400 meters north-east of the brewery. It was once the main castle of the Ando clan, which ruled the area along the coast of the Sea of Japan from Akita to Aomori until the early 17th century. Currently, a shrine named “Tsuchizaki Shimmeisha” stands among the residential houses. The glory of Tsuchizaki as a castle town can still be felt in its ambiance, with more than 10 temples and many historic alleys gathered in a small area.
The brewery was established in 1871. The founder, Saburoemon Naba, was originally a financier who moved from Muromachi in Kyoto to Akita along with the lord of Akita Domain, Satake. Saburoemon was a powerful mer-chant who established a business relationship with the feu-dal clan as a purveyor. Because it was seen as virtuous, the Naba family worked as examiners of the feudal clan’s sa-ké-brewing endeavors. At that time, they proposed to the feudal clan that its finances should be strengthened by promoting the brewing industry. Consequently, in 1815, the family was ordered by the feudal clan to establish a “brew-ing test station,” which was similar to today’s brewing la-boratories. For this reason, the Naba family became in-volved in the brewing industry. Although the representative saké brand of the brewery at the time of its establishment was AKITAGAWA (“Akita River”), due to certain problems, such as registering the trademark, it was renamed GINRIN (“Silver Scales of Fish”) in 1935 to promote good wishes and safe travels for the fishermen who thrived in the region.
This brewery uses moderately hard water with suitable amounts of minerals, which are favorable for fermenting sa-ké. Its saké, which is brewed through long, low-temperature fermentation, includes a flavor full of the rich deliciousness of rice. Moreover, the brewery further develops the quality of saké by using mostly “Akita Saké Komachi” rice, which is grown through contract farming in Akita Prefecture.