Machine Supporting Sake: Rice polishing machine 〜 Polish sake rice by their own
There are not a few breweries posting on the website that they polish sake rice by their own. Rice polishing used to be done in every brewery, however, due to the deterioration of rice polishing machines, more and more breweries are now outsourcing the job.
When brewers polish sake rice by their own, the equipment cost, maintenance cost, storage place for rice and rice bran as well as machinery, and skills of workers are required. Especially, when it comes to flat polishing that requires a specific finish, extra care should be taken so that some breweries entrust the task to a specific toji (brew master) who specializes in rice polishing, or a contemporary master craftsman who is devoted to rice polishing. Though machines polish rice, high level skills, knowledge and judgement are required to get the perfect finish as expected.
The reason why they keep on polishing sake rice by their own in spite of hard work is that they can polish rice exactly in the way they want it including they can set up the brewing plan freely and change it easily on the way, and that they can focus on keeping an eye on the whole process from growing rice.
Most rice polishing machines are made to order. The company called Shin Nakano Kogyo, which has 60% share of the rice polishing machine market, told us, “We imagine our customers who use our rice polishing machines and then we put our hearts into manufacturing their machines as well as providing on-site installation work. You do not need to stay beside the machines but just press the button because they are programed to polish rice, but that is all we can do. What is important is that people who use machines put their hearts into the machines and care always about the quality of rice polishing as well as condition of the machines.“ Rice polishing is a collaboration carried out in harmony with workers and machines.
(Cooperated by: Shin Nakano Kogyo Co, Ltd. [Okayama])