The Ultimate Food Sake
In the late 1990s, when Mr. Niizawa returned to his home brewery after attending university, much of the sake industry in Japan was focused creating the most aromatic sakes to win gold medals at sake competitions. However, rather than focusing the brewery’s energy on winning sake competitions, Mr. Niizawa focused on conceiving a new path for sake – one where sake plays a supporting role during a meal. He was interested in producing a sake “that helped the individual components of a dish shine, thereby enhancing the overall taste of the dish.” He envisioned “a lower impact sake with a low sugar content, where one may drink two or three servings without realizing.” Understanding that he was forging a new path, he asked for guidance from a Professor at the Miyagi Prefectural Industrial Technology Center. With the professor’s guidance, Mr. Niizawa worked diligently to design the “ultimate brewing process” that would yield the sake of his vision – one that would play a supporting role and work in tandem with the meal.
The team at Niizawa Brewery put all their energy into perfecting the “ultimate brewing process”. In 2002, the “ultimate food sake” under the brand name “Hakurakusei” (trademark registration No. 5312399) was established.
However, many liquor stores and sake shops did not understand the taste nor concept of Hakurakusei, which was born in a small unknown sake brewery.
The terms “aperitif sake” and “after-dinner sake” had existed for a long time, but the idea of a pairing sake, or term “food sake” did not exist at that time. It was difficult for restaurants to understand the new concept and flavor because a “food sake” is a slightly understated sake.
Over time more people became acquainted with the concept of a pairing sake and term “ultimate food sake”. Hakurakusei started to appear in newspapers, television shows, magazines, and other forms of media.
We were even contacted by other breweries outside of the prefecture asking us if they could also use the terms “shokuchu-shu,” and “food sake”. “Food sake” became a more widely known term and concept. We were advised to trademark the concept of a pairing sake as “ultimate food sake”. On October 21, 2016, we registered “究極の食中酒 ∞ultimate food sake” as trademark registration No. 5889319.