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Classy Online covered a PR Times release about another successful round of crowdfunding for the Yamagata company WAKAZE, this time for two types of sake incorporating botanicals during the brewing process. This is WAKAZE’s fourth crowdfunding product, all of which have been successfully funded. The latest venture, FONIA Sorra & Terra, hit its goal just 11 hours after launching. 

Their ORBIA sake, also crowdfunded, was designed to go with a wide variety of Western foods such as Italian, French or innovative Japanese cooking. (Covered here in November, Sake brewed for Western food) It was served in Japanese restaurants in the Tokyo region, and also exported to five overseas destinations including Paris (France). Supporters raised 435% of the original goal. (The Classy Online report says four countries, but the WAKAZE crowdfunding page says five.)

Although sake already has herbs or citrus fruit added to it to make popular drinks such as yuzu-shu, the addition is normally done after fermentation. WAKAZE proposes to instead add the extra ingredients during fermentation to allow them to meld with the sake. This project has is producing two different styles.

  • Sorra: With yuzu, lemon and sanshō (Japanese hot pepper) to produce a fresh aroma and distinctive acidity. For pairing with appetisers such as carpaccio of white fish.
  • Terra: With yuzu, ginger and sanshō, producing a spicy aroma, and made by the mizumoto (水酛) process. Herbal notes, for pairing with main courses such as lamb chops grilled with spices.

The starter for a batch of sake is called moto (酛) or shubo (酒母), so mizumoto is as the characters suggest a starter method using water. The mizumoto process consists of soaking milled rice in water along with a small amount of cooked rice, then waiting three or four days until the water becomes cloudy and bubbles start to appear. The rice is then strained through a basket or strainer and steamed, and finally brewed with kōji (I assume this refers to kōji-inoculated rice) and the water from the soaking step. After around seven days, it will have fermented and turned into sake. This method is said to be difficult to control, but doesn’t need any additional ingredients and is relatively quick and easy. It has its roots in the Muromachi Period of the 14th Century, as it comes from a fermentation method used at that time called bodaisen (菩提泉). The name changed in the Edo Period to mizumoto.