BREWERY | 白鶴酒造
One of the biggest and best-selling brands in Japan, Hakutsuru's reach is far and wide; in fact, they were already a big enough player in the sake world by the 20th century that they were featured in the 1900 Paris World Exposition. They were also the first company to sell sake prepackaged in glass bottles (it was sold by weight before, with the customers bringing their own container from home. Super eco-friendly, actually.) in 1901. Hakutsuru means "white crane." The company was founded in 1743 by Jihei Kano, a lumber dealer, as just Tsuru (crane), but imposter sake companies quickly cropped up with the same name (which goes to show how popular they already were, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all), that they changed their company name to Hakutsuru (white crane) four years later. If anything, this anecdote shows how the company had been aware of its image and marketing from the very beginning, all the way back in the mid 1700's. Today, they are as savvy with branding as with other aspects, such as lowering their CO2 output, research for eco-friendly packaging, research into proprietary yeast, and a museum with an impressive collection in Japanese and Chinese art.
Hakutsuru is located in Nada, Hyogo Prefecture, located in the middle of Honshu, the mainland of Japan. Nada is blessed with underground water rich in minerals, great rice from the Roko mountain regions, and a long history of local farmers working as sake brewery tojis during the off seasons, and two major ports—all this lead to Nada becoming one of the top three sake production regions in the country, along with Saijyo, Hiroshima Prefecture and Fushimi, Kyoto Prefecture.
Head Brewery - Toji
Mitsuhiro Kosa joined Hakutsuru in 1982. In 2012, he became the Toji of Hakutsuru’s second brewing facility which produces the majority of Hakutsuru’s best-sellers. In 2015, he was recognized as a member of Tamba Toji Group, a prestigious group that selects the most skilled brew masters in the region.
Awards & Accolades
- Gold Prize Winning in Annual Japan Sake Awards 2019
- Junmai Daiginjo “Sho-Une” San Francisco International Wine Competiton - Silver
From this Brewery
“To friendship for all time”
This slogan expresses the spirit that Hakutsuru Sake embodies towards making good sake through the generations. It expresses their devotion to the craft and to the promotion of sake in culinary culture.
Water and Rice
Hakutsuru is located in the Nada district of Kobe, one of the three leading sake regions in Japan. The Nada district has quality natural spring water that is high in minerals. The northern region of Kobe has a long history of rice production, one of the reasons the sake industry in Kobe thrives. Much of Yamada-Nishiki, the best sake rice, is cultivated here. Hakutsuru has also developed its own sake rice, Hakutsuru-Nishiki, which is the first successful crossbreed of Yamadaho and Wataribune in 70 years.
Hakutsuru has begun to share Hakutsuru-Nishiki with other 13 different breweries in the hopes of advancing the sake industry.