SAKE BREWING INTERNSHIP AT DAIMON BREWERY (JAPAN)
JAPANESE MAKER OF MUKUNE AND TOZAI PREMIUM SAKE
THE BEST WAY TO LEARN SAKE IS TO MAKE SAKE
Presented by Yasutaka Daimon
Owner & Master Brewer of Daimon Sake Brewery Co. Ltd.
Click here to apply. Click here to contact Daimon.
Due to the overwhelming volume of applicants, we have suspended all future applications for the time being. But we want to stay in touch with those who did not get a chance to
apply and would like to be considered or kept informed about this program. Please add your email to this form and click the SUBMIT button. Thank you all for your enthusiasm.
Intro: Message from Yasutaka Daimon.
It was 11 years ago, in 1997, when a group of premium sake brewers from a number of regions founded an association to start promoting
sake abroad. The association was named the Sake Export Association (SEA). Its objective was
to introduce sake – not only its flavor but also its long history and rich culture – to the world.
Member breweries were all with generations of distinguished history, and prided themselves as the makers of premium sake. In each brewery, the skills in sake-making have been
developed, maintained, polished, and handed down over many generations. Such brewers
have considerable family pride – they have been brewing sake for more than one hundred or two hundred years.
Fortunately, I was involved in the association as one of the
founding members. Back then, however, to make premium sake accessible in the U.S. and the rest of the world seemed like a
grand dream – ambitious and out of reach. Although I was hoping to achieve the dream, I was not sure when and how we
could get there. The other thing is that I was not interested in just selling more bottles abroad. What I wanted was much more
complex – I wanted the world to understand the rich tradition of sake, and to develop a much deeper appreciation.
Today, our dream no longer seems too ambitious or unrealistic. The world is embracing and appreciating sake in a way that was
simply unimaginable as recent as ten years ago. In the U.S., for example, consumers used to have a pre-conceived notion that
sake had to be served hot. This misperception existed in the U.S. for quite some time. As we know, today, the Americans and the Europeans are enjoying
premium sake served cold. They are becoming increasingly knowledgeable, sophisticated and
enthusiastic about sake; and some even enjoy debating the difference among various types or
brands of sake. This is exactly what we were dreaming of. In a way, the dramatic growth we saw in ten years even exceeded our own expectation.
Such a quick and extraordinary development wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support we got from those who understood and shared our aspiration, such as
sake importers and distributors in the US, vendors, liquor shop owners, professionals in
culinary industry, Japanese Embassies and Consulates, various organizations and individuals
who helped both our marketing and educational outreach efforts through events like seminars
and sake-tastings. Without their guidance, support and encouragement, we wouldn’t be even remotely close to where we stand today.
Thanks to the efforts over a decade or so, we now have a great
number of sake lovers and liquor-related professionals outside Japan who study the art of sake with passion. The level of their
interest is remarkable, their learning curve is extremely steep, and the number of such students of sake is growing fast. It’s
been some time since we started receiving inquiries from some of them, asking whether there is any way for them to learn and experience the process of sake-making so that they
can understand it better. As you can imagine, for a sake brewer, nothing gives more pleasure than this, and I have been
wondering how I can best respond to such inquiries. It is why I came up with the idea of a hands-on, practical internship program at Daimon Sake Brewery in Osaka.
What I would like to achieve through this program is to prompt more serious interest in sake, to
facilitate understanding of the rich and complex world of sake, and to provide a unique and
useful opportunity for the participants to experience the sake production in an intimate way. I
am hoping that this tiny yet exciting project would serve as a stepping stone for us for the next ten years, from where we can jump to reach even more ambitious goals.
This program excites me personally, and means a lot to me. I was born in 1948, as the 6th generation of Daimon Sake Brewery, which was founded in 1826. In the late 1960s, I was a
backpacker for a few years, walking around in Europe, North Africa and Asia, where I met and
learned from a great number of fascinating people. This experience truly opened my eyes to the
world, and ultimately made me decide to take over the family business. In addition, this experience as a backpacker, and my command of English helped me a great deal in the sake
outreach effort in the U.S. and Europe. I enjoy communicating and working with those from
different corners of the world. I will be most delighted to lead this training program as a chief
navigator to the sake world, and to assist the participants learn about sake, and about Japanese culture, which could be rather challenging without good support. I personally
consider this as my privilege and my mission. We look forward to receiving many enthusiastic applicants.
Background on Japan’s Premier Sake Breweries. Traditionally the
central figure in sake-making has been Toji (master brewer). These highly skilled brewers are often migrant workers, who work at certain sake
breweries in winter and go back their hometowns as the production season is over. However, because of the changing lifestyle in the contemporary
Japan, the situation has changed, and it has become increasingly difficult for breweries to attract and secure human resources, particularly young people.
Since about twenty years ago, some have been arguing that the production system led by Toji will be gone sometime soon.
In order to respond to such a change, recently, many breweries redesigned their production style to a new one. Under the new system, the owners, their sons and daughters, and non
-migrant employees of the breweries get involved in the production much more directly, and
sometimes become Toji themselves. Today, about a third of breweries in Japan shifted to a non-traditional sake production system, which is less dependent on Toji. Daimon Sake
Brewery is one of them, and restructured its production style in 2007. It is when I took over the role of Toji, in addition to my existing role as the owner.
Traditionally, inspiration and years of experience of the Toji (master brewer) were considered
the most critical and valuable elements in determining the quality of sake. Today we are trying
to make equally high-quality sake by applying scientific approach, advanced technology, sophisticated production facility, and contemporary management technique, which allow us to
achieve high quality, stable production, and to replicate the flavor that was maintained by Toji over generations.
Objectives & Content of Internship Program. It is a week-long training program, and we will accept five (5) participants per session. You will experience On the Job Training by working side by side with the
employees of Daimon Sake Brewery during the course.
Shikomi (or the “fermentation mash”) of sake production traditionally
completes in four consecutive days. Basically, this is the way it works:
- Wednesday: 1st stage: Soe-Shikomi
- Thursday: Odori : No Shikomi, to let Moromi to grow
- Friday: 2nd stage: Naka-Shikomi
- Saturday: 3rd stage: Tome-Shikomi. Completion of Shikomi
You will participate in this process as one of the team members. In addition, during the stay,
you will be involved in as many sake-making activities as possible, such as Koji-making, Moto-Shikomi or Moromi Pressing.Please see the attached for more details.
What We Ask For the Participants. This program is designed for those with substantial knowledge about sake, its
production process, and basic terminology. Therefore, the program is focused on practical onsite training. In other words, the time we spend on theory will be very limited.
Fluency in Japanese is not a pre-requisite. However, in order for you to have smooth communication with the employees of
Daimon Sake Brewery, we do encourage you to come with basic knowledge of daily conversation and terms in Japanese.
We will do our best to make your stay as comfortable as possible, but the facility we provide for this program is rather
simple and modest. We will provide meals and private rooms with AC, but the rooms are small, and with shared bathrooms.
Although this is basically designed as a week-long program, an extension is an option. If you
would like a longer, more in-depth training, we can certainly discuss and explore other
possibilities, including a long-term training and/or formal employment. This will depend on
your qualification, skills, potential and goals. In addition, we would be happy to provide an
introduction to fellow sake breweries, via our close network across Japan. We hope you to
make the most of this unique opportunity, for your personal and professional growth, and hope that you would take the experience at our brewery with you to wherever you go.
This program is of course open to anyone who is interested, and we will welcome both men
and women. Lastly, the most important thing that I would like to ask you is to take part in this
program with respect to the way we conduct our daily life and work at the brewery. The way we
live and work in the brewery is a critical part of the sake-making process. I believe you can learn
a lot by being in the brewery, waking up and spending time with our employees – probably as much as you can learn from the training itself if not more.
Schedule for the 2008 - 2009 - 2010 Season
Due to the overwhelming volume of applicants, we have
suspended all future applications for the time being. But we want to stay in touch with those who did not get a chance to apply and would like to be considered or kept
informed about this program. Please add your email to this form and click the SUBMIT button. Thank you all for
- Feb. Session, Starting on February 9, 2009
- March Session, Starting on March 9, 2009
- April Session, Starting on April 6, 2009
- October Session, Starting Oct. 12, 2009
- November Session, Starting Nov. 9, 2009
- January Session, Starting Jan. 18, 2010
- February Session, Starting Feb. 8, 2010
- March Session, Starting March 8, 2010
- April Session, Starting April 12, 2010
Sample Travel Schedule
For participants coming from the U.S. and elsewhere, the basic itinerary will be:
- Day 1: Sunday: Depart from your respective country
- Day 2: Monday: Arrive in Kansai Airport in Osaka, and to Daimon Sake Brewery
- Day 3: Tuesday: Orientation
- Day 4: Wednesday: See the attached
- Day 5: Thursday: See the attached
- Day 6: Friday: See the attached
- Day 7: Saturday: See the attached and farewell party at Mukune-tei
- Day 8: Sunday: Closing meeting, and free time
- Depart from Kansai Airport, and return to your country
- Please see ITINERARY for more details of the training program
Additional Activities. We would like to secure some time so that we can take you to well-known Izakaya, sake bars and Japanese
restaurants. Also, if interested, you can take this opportunity to visit Kyoto and Nara - both are not far from where we are located. Please
understand that each participant is expected to cover these additional expenses.
Cost . Each participant is asked to cover his/her roundtrip travel
expenses from where s/he lives to Daimon Sake Brewery. The training program, accommodation and meals are provided for free.
I hope many people find this program exciting, and look forward to receiving many applications. All of us at Daimon Sake Brewery are most grateful for your
interest and time. We look forward to seeing you in MUKUNE Village, Osaka.
Advisors and Supporters of the Program. I would like to thank the following friends for
their warm support. Without their guidance and advice, I would never have been able to launch this project.