The Quest For The Perfect Sake

Ichiro Nishimaki's gravelly voice echoes beneath the wooden beams of the 130-year-old sake brewery as he casts a practiced eye over a pungent vat of fermenting rice. Outside, snowdrifts glisten in the late March sun. Here in Shiozawa in the mountains near the western seaport of Niigata, Nishimaki is winding up his 24th winter as the brewmaster of Takachiyo Brewing Co. A robust 59, he tends his rice paddies in the summer and moves into the small brewery every November to practice an ancient trade that took a 10-year apprenticeship to master.

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