Minato Harbor (Naba Shoten)
Located near Tsuchizaki harbor in Akita City, one of the largest ports of northern Japan, Naba Shoten has been a local favorite since it was started in 1815. In honor of the fishermen and other inhabitants of the port, who have been the brewery's most loyal customers, it produces sakes that pair extremely well with the grilled and fried seafood commonly eaten in the area. One reason for this is the traditional Yamahai brewing method, which the brewery helped revive. The method is more time and labor intensive; however, results in the higher acidity for which Naba Shoten sakes are known.
Because the brewery is located in the city, it is one of only a few in all of Japan to still practice the ancient dekasegi system, in which brewery workers leave their homes and families in the countryside and move into the brewery for the duration of the brewing season. The constant presence of such skilled and dedicated workers ensures continual monitoring of brewing conditions, leading to wonderfully smooth and balanced sakes.
When the young Katsuhiro Fujita took over as toji not long after Hisashi Naba inherited control of the brewery from his father, some people expressed concern of the future of the brewery. However, the duo silenced skeptics and promised great things to come, taking home a Gold Medal in the National New Sake Competition during their first season working together. The brewery is clearly still in very capable hands, and Mr. Naba is looking forward to making fans of his sake in the US as well.