The Webun Toyama news site has an article on a French champagne brewer who is coming to the prefecture to start brewing sake.

Richard Geoffroy has been responsible for production at some of the world's most famous champagne labels, but is now looking to the small town of Tateyama near Toyama Bay in order to launch sake onto the global stage.

The new brewery, designed by architect Kuma Kengo, will be based in the Chūsankan region and use locally grown sake-specific rice.

Geoffroy intends to fully develop and show the possibilities of sake, and display its charms to the world. Rice for the brewery will be grown in flooded fields in the local Shiraiwa and Ashimi areas, which will also hold the brewery buildings. The new company set up by Geoffroy will take over a brewing licence from a local brewery which closed down, and will also take on the name "Shiraiwa". Australian product designer Marc Newson will be in charge of creating the brand image for the sake.

Geoffroy is a French citizen who also trained as a doctor. He believes the importance of rice-based culture is on the rise, and rates Japanese sake highly. When searching for a location in Japan to start brewing, he chose the Shiraiwa/Asahimi area because of its calming, archetypal Japanese scenery of terraced rice fields.

Both Geoffroy and Newson have close connections with celebrities and celebrity chefs all over the world, and hope to use those connections to invite as many people as possible to experience Japan and Japanese sake. Their next step is to prepare paperwork to submit to Tateyama city to convert farmland for commercial use as a brewery site.

The city will erect a "Tateyama Overseas Development Strategy Facility" on neighbouring land by the end of FY2019 (i.e. March 2020). It will include a sales area for warehousing and exporting sake, and a study and training space for study visits to the brewery. The facility has a budget of JPY 675,000,000, almost half of which will come from a national grant for construction of facilities that contribute to regional productivity.

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