Founded in 1843, Kirinzan Shuzo lies beneath the majestic Mt. Kirin in the northern prefecture of Niigata. According to ancient Chinese legends, the kirin is a mythical animal like a flying unicorn that appears as a sign of the birth of a saint and brings happiness and luck. Both the shape of the mountain and local whisperings of lights and spirits on its slopes gave it the name of this mythical beast.
The beech trees, Mt. Kirin and the Tokonami River that surround the brewery provide the perfect filtration system for the local water to become soft. In the production of sake, soft water allows for a long fermentation and this creates the delicate, elegant style of sake for which Kirinzan is known.
In order to ensure the best quality of rice for the sake, in the summer months the toji (brew master) at Kirinzan works in the local rice fields with his team members and in the fall brews the rice he has cultivated. The brewery is committed to using the finest local rice in order to support the local Oku-Aga agricultural community, and in the past few years have moved to using 100% rice from local farmers, and grown within five miles of the brewery.