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Introducing Science and Technology to Sake Brewing
Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute (Original Site)

Introducing Science and Technology to Sake Brewing First Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute

  • Period: 1909 (photo taken circa 1920)

In 1907, shortly after it was founded, an engineer named Chikashi Kanomata was dispatched from the Sake Brewing Laboratory of the Ministry of Finance, and he lived in the Kitagura Brewery at Gekkeikan for more than two months, studying what actually went on in a brewery. President Tsunekichi Okura noticed him using the latest scientific technology to carry out his investigations. The two of them would talk passionately about the various issues of sake-brewing technology, and Tsunekichi was able to learn a number of scientific principles. Having experienced the strictness of sake-making since his childhood, Tsunekichi was painfully aware of the necessity of bringing in scientific management techniques, so this gave him the motivation to modernize brewing techniques.

With the aim of creating his own research office, Tsunekichi built a Western-style building in the grounds of the Kitagura Brewery in November 1908, and, at the suggestion of Kanomata, hired Hide Hamazaki, a Doctor of Agriculture from Tokyo Imperial University. The Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute (currently known as the Gekkeikan General Research Institute) was founded on January 10th of the following year, 1909, and since then, it has produced a number of research results that help improve our sake quality and production techniques, including the commercialization of bottled sake that does not use preservatives in 1911.

The initial Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute building was dismantled in July 2014, and its archives and some of its architectural elements preserved.

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