Morikawa Shuzo Brewery. is a sake brewery established in 1887. The current proprietor, Tomonori Morikawa is the seventh-generation head.
The brewery’s main sake brands are “Hakuko” and “Sarasoju.” These sakes are brewed amidst rich natural settings, which include a satoyama area and paddy fields, lying at the eastern foot of Mt. Noro, located in the Setonaikai National Park. In summer, glimmering fireflies create a spectacular sight around the Noro River.
High quality underground water running from Mt. Noro, which is low in mineral content, is an extremely rare type of ultra-soft water, even in Hiroshima Prefecture, which is blessed with plenty of soft water. The brewer uses this ultra-soft water in the brewing process called shikomi.
To use ultra-soft water in the sake brewing process, it is required to employ an advanced technique to grow sake yeast that is necessary for alcohol fermentation. In Hiroshima Prefecture, original brewing methods using soft water have been traditionally preserved among local master breweries. The Hakuko sake is carefully and attentively produced based on such traditional local brewing methods. Because the delicious flavor inherent to rice is liberally extracted by ultra-soft water, the mellow tasting Hakuko sake has a smooth sensation in the mouth and creates a sharp, refreshing aftertaste.
Motoaki Morikawa, the current proprietor’s younger brother, who is in charge of the brewmaster, feels pride in employing the traditional Hiroshima ultra-soft water brewing methods to produce original high quality sake.
The characteristic feature of water used in the Morikawa Shuzo brewery is not limited to its ultra-softness alone; surprisingly, it has also “persistence.”
Having a high reputation for its long-lasting rich flavor after opening the bottle, Hakuko sake is suitable to enjoy warmed. In addition, according to Motoaki Morikawa, it is also strongly recommended to savor it in a kanzamashi style. When sake warmed up returns to its cold state, it is called kanzamashi. He explains: “When cooling the warned Hakuko sake, a distinctive rich taste arises, which I believe suggests the persistence of our ultra-soft water. I am not sure whether “persistent water” is an appropriate expression or not, but it is really surprising soft water.”
The brewery does not necessarily focus on “The Hakuko sake that stands at the very forefront as a prominent sake product in Japan.” Rather, it aims to realize “The Hakuko sake that becomes deeper in taste, glass by glass.”
Hakuko sake has received the Gold Medal (2014) and the Silver Medal (2013) in the sake category of the International Wine Challenge (IWC), and the Gold Prize at the Annual Japan Sake Awards, repeatedly. In spite of these outstanding results, the brewery will not rest on its laurels. It will continue to devote itself to producing high quality sake, under the long-preserved spirit of “The more you drink, the deeper the taste and the aroma of the sake.”
Les grands sakes de Hiroshima