Sake Times (Japanese) reports on a new development in the world of sake – crowdfunding!

The Maboroshii-no-Sake (phantom or illusory sake) company launched a campaign on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake on 17 October 2017 to raise funds for a project to “have more people experience the real taste of junmai daiginjō namazake” (unpasteurised premium sake with no alcohol used during pressing) through their Yukishizuku label. 

Supporters choose one bottle of fresh, unpasteurised, non-fined sake made with highly polished sake-specific rice, from one of three participating Niigata breweries:

  • Koshi-no-Hana brewery (Japanese) – junmai daiginjō muroka namagenshu made with Yamadanishiki sake-specific rice milled to 50% – peach-coloured label for the “flower” in their name (hana)
  • Ofuku brewery (Japanese) – junmai daiginjō muroka namagenshu made with Gohyakumangoku sake-specific rice milled to 50% – green label as it’s a lucky colour (the name of the brewery means “luck”)
  • Nakagawa brewery – junmai daiginjō muroka namagenshu made with Yuki-no-sei sake-specific rice milled to 50% – blue label for the natural spring water used for brewing (the brewery name also contains the character for “river”)

As unpasteurised and non-fined sake is particularly perishable, it’s usually only possible to drink it at the brewery. Maboroshii-no-Sake say they worked with the breweries for a year to finalise the project, which aims to ship just-pressed sake out to supporters to let them taste it absolutely fresh. (Also probably made possible by Japan’s amazing logistics and home delivery networks.)

Their previous crowdfunding project not only reached its goal but exceeded it, with 226 supporters raising 2,812,482 JPY against a target of 1,000,000 JPY. That project was to produce three sakes made with rice and water from Niigata Prefecture, by three different breweries again all in the same prefecture. The sake was made from koshi-hikari rice, which as far as I know is an ordinary table rice and not a sake-specific rice, which I thought would disqualify it from being classed as daiginjō – but on looking around I see other daiginjō made from koshi-hikari. I’ll have to look into that!