Rikuzentakata sake production resumes at new brewery
Overcoming various difficulties caused by the catastrophic disaster on March 11, 2011, Suisen, a 200-year-old sake brewery in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, is now coming back to normal operations in the neighboring city of Ofunato, together with the famous sake brand “Yukikko.”
Several months after the earthquake, Suisen restarted its operation at a rented brewery facility in Ichinoseki City, which is over 60 km away from Rikuzentakata. The reopening was made possible due to a national government subsidy to complete the 5-month construction of a new “sakagura” (sake brewery).
Yasuaki Kaneno, president of Suisen, says, “Though we could restart the business, we will need a while to get back to full operation. Many things such as new machine setup, adjustments and staff training are still left undone.” Nevertheless, the reopening made it easier for Suisen employees to commute compared with a long ride to get to the Ichinoseki brewery.
In addition to Yukikko, Suisen plans to increase its production to cover 70% of sake lineups that Suisen used to brew before the earthquake.
Suisen plans to move its headquarters, warehouses and other facilities back to its home town to continue to be a Rikuzentakata-based sake brewer.
“Time has passed so fast for the last one and half years. Thanks to many people for their great support, we now have this superb brewery,” Kaneno said.