This Netflix Documentary Is A Must-See For Sake Drinkers
If you really want to appreciate your sake, and we mean savor every last drop, watch the 2015 documentary “The Birth of Saké.” Featured on Netflix, the doc takes a deep dive into one of the last remaining Japanese sake breweries where sake is made the old-fashioned way.
Even if you’re not necessarily a sake junkie by any means, this documentary will make you appreciate the art of the craft and the sacrifice that goes into each bottle.
“The Birth of Saké” chronicles a brewing season at the small family-owned Yoshida Brewery, in Ishikawa Prefecture, where artisans have been using touch, taste, sight and smell to steam, sift and ferment sake for over 140 years, as opposed to using machinery. This time-honored sake technique is shrinking little by little and young workers who are willing to put up with the demands of the job are few and far between.
In a world where machinery is taking over manual labor one factory at a time, it’s refreshing to see people rely on their natural instincts to create a product. You’ll learn the difference that dedicated time and complete concentration can make, compared to some of the half-assed, mass-marketed liquor you’ll see on shelves today.
You’ll see a dozen employees leave their families behind for six months — October through April — and head to the sake plant. For those six months, they follow the rigid guidelines of Tèruyuki Yamamoto, the 68-year-old head brewmaster.
The sake workers live a monk-like existence to create the level of sake that has made this century-old brewery famous. Be prepared to gain a whole new appreciation for the fermented rice drink. For sake of this quality, attention needs to be paid around the clock. Even the slightest change in routine could completely alter the results.
Chances are you’ll take a second look next time you’re browsing the sake section and you’ll wonder where your drink comes from.
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