Ine to Agave
In the fall of 2021, an abandoned train station building on the Oga Peninsula in Akita Prefecture, located in the northwest of the Japan archipelago, was transformed into a sake brewery. Shuhei Okazumi, the founder, has worked for Aramasa Brewery – one of the best known sake breweries in Asia – as an ace brewer.
Due to Japan’s conservative laws, no new licenses are allowed to be issued to produce sake – only transfer of licenses through mergers and acquisitions is permitted.
Sake production licenses are a privilege granted only to historic sake breweries. Even talented brewers like Okazumi are not allowed to make sake unless they are employed by an existing brewery. For this reason Ine to Agave can sell their products only outside from Japan. Ine to Agave adds a second ingredient: agave syrup, the tequila ingredient that is also part of the brewery’s name. The rice used for brewing this special sake is naturally grown without the use of any pesticides and fertilizers, who adds value to the brand.
In addition, while the rice used for sake is often milled down to one-half its original volume to remove impurities, Ine to Agave has standardized a 90% remaining rice ratio (only 10% milled), similar to edible rice, in order to reduce food loss.