U.S.-grown rice brewed into sake in Fukushima

Rice harvested at a Japanese-founded farm in the U.S. state of California has been turned into sake by a brewery in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Nihonmatsu. The late Keisaburo Koda, the pioneering farmer hailing from Ogawa-machi in the city of Iwaki in the prefecture, succeeded in developing a large-scale rice plantation in California, establishing Koda Farms. The brewery, Ninki Shuzo, is soliciting buyers of the rice wine, dubbed “Uka” (eclosion), via a crowdfunding campaign through June 12. Koda Farms, located in a central California valley, cultivates rice and other farm produce free from agrochemicals. Its third-generation leader, Ross Koda, proposed the rice wine project in a bid to produce sake with the farm’s rice and show gratitude to his grandfather’s hometown. Offering cooperation for the project was Yujin Yusa, president of Ninki Shuzo. The rice varieties used for the sake-brewing project were two organic Koda breeds certified in the United States, “Kokuho Rose” and “Calhikari.” In general, the Kokuho (heirloom) Rose variety is not suitable for sake brewing. But the brewery spent a long time polishing it, coming up with sake that has a sophisticated bouquet, a well-balanced flavor and is easy on the palate. Meanwhile, sake made from Calhikari (a Californian “koshihikari” rice breed) tastes refreshing and crisp, and adds zest to a meal, according to the brewery. Both types of sake are available in 720-milliliter bottles. Through June 12, a set of both bottles sells for 6,600 yen, two sets (four bottles) for 11,550 yen, three sets (six bottles) for 16,500 yen and six sets (12 bottles) for 31,000 yen (all including tax). “These are products only available during the crowdfunding campaign,” says Yusa. “I would like drinkers to enjoy the taste, which differs from sake made from domestic rice.” The campaign website: https://www.makuake.com/project/uka [Photo] Two types of “Uka” sake brewed with California rice (Translated by Kyodo News)