Koshinoiso Brewing is a small brewery located in Fukui city, the capital of the Fukui prefecture. Its members mainly include family members and several local sake brewers. Sake produced here is very traditional and full of the local Fukui prefecture flavors. It has a strong personality with a distinct taste, leaving a deep impression.
About one hundred years ago, the founder of Koshinoiso Brewing began making sake along the coast of Japan in the Fukui prefecture. The brewery’s name is reminiscent of both the Fukui prefecture and the nearby ocean. Fifty years after its conception, the second-generation owners of the Koshinoiso Brewery have moved to the current location in Fukui City.
Up until now, the fourth-generation brewery owner Isomiyasukuni has been creating the style and sake brewing guidelines of Koshinoisho Brewing. Following the rice milling time during the war, Isomiyasukuni saw the sake industry flourish. Even when quantity was still king, Isomiyasukuni had already figured out the importance of quality. From that time on, he poured his heart into brewing fine sake, an ideal much ahead of his time, which is why all of his work is done meticulously, from the brewing of the sake to the sake’s name, even down to the sake bottle. Everything is chosen and designed with great care.
Yamanoue Sōji, a disciple of the Monk Sen no Rikyū, authored ten articles on Japanese tea culture, in which the third article is titled “Ichigo, Ichie,” which conveys the idea that when two people meet, unknowing of when their next meeting will take place, they should treat each other to tea and cherish their time with one another. Since then, ‘ichigo, ichie’ has become a common phrase used to describe encounters.
The philosophy of tea ceremonies has infiltrated Japanese life bit by bit, entering sake brewers’ frame of mind as well, something Yamanoue Sōji probably couldn’t even predict. Contemporary sake brewers’ most precious commodity is now ‘ichigo, ichie.’ Isomiyasukuni incorporated tea traditions into sake culture, whereas in ancient times, sake culture included a samurai drinking philosophy, and the tea ceremony was nowhere to be found in sake drinking. Contradictory to tea ceremonies, samurai would serve sake they had drunk from to their counterparts to prove that the alcohol and glass were not poisonous, seeking to earn one another’s mutual trust. There were many other inconsistencies with tea ceremonies, but Isomiyasukuni focused on tea ceremony ideals. He believed it was necessary to brew good sake and knew that he may only have one shot at it. Making good sake is difficult, but the greatest pleasure comes from others enjoying that sake.