While the island of Kyushu is more well known for their exquisite distilled shochu spirits the area also produces some of the finest sake in the country. Generally distinct from their northern cousins which tend to lean, dry and beautifully austere, sake from Kyushu has a body and fullness that matches the richness of the local cuisine.
The sake brewery Gochoda Shuzo is based in the warm western part of Kyushu in Saga prefecture. Kyushu’s warmer temperatures and humid climate traditionally led to hotter fermentations than sake made in the cold north and naturally creates a bolder style. Unlike many Kyushu producers that both brew sake and distill shochu, Gochoda concentrates exclusively on high quality sake, and in 1988 became one of the first breweries in Kyushu to start specializing in premium ginjo styles.
That same year due to rice shortages the brewery began to pursue the unusual practice of growing their own premium Yamada Nishiki rice for their sake instead of buying from agricultural co-ops or wholesalers. For the most part the brewery eschews the use of modern equipment. Even basics like thermometers are set aside with the brewery workers relying on their experience and five senses alone to craft something unique. The result is a line of big bodied sake bursting with flavor that shows its Kyushu roots but also shows off remarkable subtlety.