The Brewer of the Next Generation, Woven by the 7.5 Generation, Chisa Aoki

――The tradition and possibilities of Sake

The Brewer of the Next Generation, Woven by the 7.5 Generation, Chisa Aoki

Although I grew up as the eldest of three siblings in the Aoki family, I worked as a nurse and knew nothing about sake brewing. Two years into my career, I received a phone call from my mother asking if I would like to help out at the brewery. My father was also over 60 years old at that time, my younger brother was still in high school, and my younger sister did not seem to have much interest in sake, so I thought, “I'll have to do it!”. The next day I went to talk to the head nurse about my resignation. My brother will be the eighth generation, and I am the 7.5th generation.  

In 2013, we hired a new chief brewer and completely updated our equipment in 2015. It was at this time that I returned to the brewery and participated in a training course on sake production techniques with young brewers from all over the country at the National Tax Agency in Takinogawa, and was then appointed as Senior Managing Director. This was truly a turning period for Aoki Sake Brewery, and in 2015, “Gokeiji Junmai Ginjo Hitachinishiki” won third place in the Junmai Ginjo category at the “SAKE COMPETITION 2015”, a competition with the largest number of commercially available sake entries. In 2016, it won the Trophy Award, the top award in the Junmai Ginjo category of sake division at the IWC (International Wine Challenge), as well as the Grand Prix, the top award in the Ginjo category of U.S. National Sake Appraisal. However, I was constantly asked, “Where does Gokeiji sake come from? Where is Aoki Sake Brewery......?”

Since then, I have spent my days studying sake brewing and striving to realize that “When it comes to Aoki Sake Brewery, people will think of Gokeiji, and when it comes to Gokeiji, people will think of Aoki Sake Brewery”. It's been almost 10 years since then. I have proposed label designs that appealed to women, visited nationwide tasting and sales events to promote our products, and used social networking services to disseminate information. During the preparation period, I work with the chief brewers at the brewery every morning, and every year I discover new things about the depths and difficulties of sake brewing.

While respecting tradition and history, we are exploring new possibilities for sake. We hope young people and women would choose sake. We also would like the elderly to enjoy a new form of sake - that's our biggest wish at the moment.

Chisa Aoki, Senior Managing Director, Aoki Sake Brewing Company