A phoenix in Nada

Fukuju (Kobe Shushinkan) is an old sake company (1751), but has a brand new brewery. Recent history has not spared the Yasufuku family business, now in its 13th generation. It seems it was the only Nada family whose entire properties (home and brewery) were destroyed by air bombing raids during WWII. Seen from the sky, the roofs of large Nada breweries looked too much like the Kawanishi Aviation plants assembling war planes. Then more recently, the great Hanshin earthquake struck in January 1995. Like a phoenix, the brewery was reborn again. Squeezed between the Hanshin highway rising above buildings on a forest of concrete pillars, and a huge Kobe Steel complex, its premises with their small garden flowering in all seasons, offer in this not so friendly part of town a pleasant oasis, especially when one is welcomed by Masakazu Minatomoto, in French, in English, in smiles. A wine and sake sommelier who loves traveling, our guide kindly led us through the state of the art brewing facility. Much smaller than its neighbors in the area, looking for cooperation with other brewers and academic researchers, it has been experimenting with new materials and new techniques, such as Tarai Koji (2005), which makes use of relatively small plastic tubs (10kg?). I enjoyed the tasting session very much, the diversity of fresh and balanced premium sake brewed with Miyamizu water, descending from Mount Rokko and drawn in Nishinomiya, as well as sake rice cultivated on Mount Rokko’s lucent green Northern foot. I will remember the very aromatic (an expression of pear!) Dolce Vita kijoshu as well. No surprise that with the help of Sweden based sake samourai Ake Nordgren, often prized Fukuju sake found the way to the tables dressed for the Nobel Committee’s grand diner parties, each time Japanese scientists are rewarded for their research. Enjoy your visit!

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