Season and Sake- Sake Brewery ; Winter
Even a toji describes himself as “I am always a freshman”. Of course some people are humble to say so, however, as the condition of rice differs every year, many tojis know how difficult it is to see what kind of rice they get for the year and decide what kind of sake they should make. Once the first sake is made well, the brewery becomes energized.
The time when the first sake of the year, made of new rice, is pressed. Every brewery worker will be nervous to have the first sip of the sake. The first few bottles of sake made from new rice will reflect on the condition of the rice of the year. Shrines that enshrine sake-related gods conduct rituals to pray for the safe brewing.
The year-end is a season when sake is most frequently consumed. People also drink it for the New Year’s greeting. In this busy peak period of sake brewing, kurabitos and sales people are busy, and entire breweries become energized.
The month when most sake brewers present their new sake. People are invited for the new sake tasting. From January to February, which are the coldest months of the year, it is the time for the brewing of ginjoshu. Some of the ginjoshu are exhibited at the National New Sake Awards sake contest. This is the time when breweries are filled with utmost tension.
As the brewing reaches busy season when fresh-pressed ginjoshu, unfiltered unpasteurized undiluted sake, and all other fresh namazake (undiluted sake) are delivered from breweries. It is exciting to join the event for the sake risshun asa shibori, where about 50 sake companies present their fresh pressed sake in the early morning on February 4th. There are other events held by breweries, such as kuradashi (fresh sake festival), kurabiraki and shuzokaiho (brewery festival).