Generally, most sake
breweries were established by local people. But in case of present day sake
breweries in Saitama prefecture, more than half were established by brewers from Echigo and Ohmi, while a few were established by brewers from Saitama. One reason for this is that brewers from Echigo and Ohmi extended markets by establishing many branch houses, on the other hand, brewers from Saitama were conservative. Then, the sake
brewers had to produce more delicious sake
to meet demand. They need well water which contains little Fe and Mn, good quality rice, and excellent brewing technology to make delicious sake
. The well water quality and the brewing technology together with the organization and the market were closely related with the rise and fall of sake
brewers. In this paper, differences of well water quality and brewing technology of breweries are analyzed.
As a result, the successful brewers established breweries where there was good quality well water, and they had excellent technologies. The typical brewers were from Echigo and Ohmi. While brewers from Saitama operated in the eastern part of Saitama where they pumped well water that was unsuitable for brewing. Because there was very little competition among brewers in eastern Saitama, brewers from Saitama could continue to operate breweries.
Brewers from Echigo and Ohmi also used bought-in rice for brewing. Brewers from Echigo especially had excellent techniques to produce high-quality sake
in eastern Japan. Brewers from Ohmi lagged behind brewers from Echigo on technical innovation. Conversely, most brewers from Saitama depended on tenant rices as well as traditional technologies. They were defeated in competition over quality and disappeared.
But the quality improvements of brewers from Echigo and Ohmi had not gained competitive power in the Tokyo market. There was a price gap between Saitama sake
and national brands, and Saitama sake
was helped by selling at lower prices. As a result, brewers from Echigo tried to sell within Saitama, and brewers from Ohmi changed their sales outlet from Tokyo to Saitama. Brewers from Saitama who lost sales outlets, sold sake
at bargain prices in Tokyo, and this caused a declining general popularity of Saitama sake
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