A big step towards WAKAZE's vision, "to make Japanese sake into a worldwide alcoholic drink."
In the summer of 2019, we founded our very own brewery in the outskirts of Paris, France called "KURA GRAND PARIS".
With twelve 2,500L tanks within the space of 450㎡, it is the biggest sake brewery in Europe. Most of the equipment necessary for sake brewing such as the koji-muro, the room for producing koji(malted rice), and th compressor was specially ordered. By having a brewery in the greater Paris region, which is the world's center of food culture, we plan to be the place of origin to promote the culture of SAKE.
Sake brewing that utilizes terroir in which WAKAZE has long been valuing. At KURA GRAND PARIS, we only use the best ingredients all produced in France to brew our SAKE, such as the Japonica rice from in the Camargue region of southern France, which is the one and only place that produces rice in France, the European local mineral water, and organic yeast from France.
In addition to the wine-barrel aged Japanese sake and botanically fermented sake, in which WAKAZE has been brewing up until now, we will challenge to brew the first ever seishu (refined sake) at our brewery. The sake in KURA GRAND PARIS will not only be sold in Europe such as Paris, but we also plan to have limited distribution in Japan as well.
SAKE born in KURA GRAND PARIS
At KURA GRAND PARIS, we are challenging to brew our very first seishu, or refined sake, aiming to create a sake that can be enjoyed in everyday life.
Same in the Sangenjaya Brewery in Tokyo, we have a natural production method as our base, only using rice, koji, and water without any additives. Moreover, by directly going to the place of production, we have a sake production that values the terroir which utilizes the culture of the local land and ingredients.
We only use the local French rice, and by brewing sake using rice for eating, not for sake production, we aim to make the rice culture itself more familiar. As for the koji (malted rice) making, we have a special koji-muro (the room for producing koji), using the locally grown fir trees and the traditional Japanese architectural technique called "ari-hozo"(dovetail tenon), making it a one of a kind koji-making room in the world. We continue to study and perfect traditional methods that work closely with rice.
As for the brewing water, we use hard water from Paris, in which the hardness is approximately 250mg/l, (compared to water from Tokyo which is approx. 60mg/l) that contains minerals that make the moromi(unrefined sake) fermentation more delicate. The SAKE from KURA GRAND PARIS is filled with the brewer's skillful techniques, which fits accordingly with the characteristics of French ingredients.
We will create SAKE using the finest materials and equipment, selected one by one, such as the special red wine-barrels from high-class farms from the Bourgogne region for the wine-barrel aged sake.
The SAKE production of KURA GRAND PARIS is based on the continuing evolution of the brewer and creatures in the great nature of France, and in the worldwide capital of gastronomy, Paris.
Shoya Imai, first generation brewer
After graduating from the Faculty of Agriculture of Tokyo University, Imai joined the Oisix Inc., a food EC company, and met the now representative Inagawa and thus founded WAKAZE. After leaving the company, Imai has gone through various apprenticeships in many different breweries from all over Japan, such as the Shinsei Brewery from Akita, the Masuda Brewery in Toyama, the Abe Brewery from Niigata, and Hijiri Brewery from Gunma, and has therefore accumulated the knowledge and skills of sake-making.
Imai comes from a family with roots deep of sake brewing. Hijri Brewery in Gumna, created in 1841 is where his father's side of the family runs the sake business. While his father is the chief brewer and his older brother is the CEO of the brewery itself, his second brother is also a brewer in Maruishi Brewery in Aichi. (His mother’s side of the family is from Gifu Chiyogiku)
Responsible as the sake producer, he has supported the creation of ORBIA and FONIA, and is the leader of sake-production at the WAKAZE Sangenjaya Brewery.