Matsuoka Brewery

Ogawa, Japan

In the quaint town of Ogawamachi, nestled in the Chichibu Mountains of Japan, the story of Matsuoka Brewery unfolds. Established in 1851 by the visionary Yuemon Matsuoka, this sake brewery has a rich history rooted in tradition and an unwavering commitment to producing exceptional sake. Born into a sake brewing family in Anesaki, Echigo-Kubiki District, Yuemon Matsuoka had a deep-seated passion for sake and sought a location that would be ideal for its production.

Yuemon’s decision to relocate his brewery to Ogawamachi was driven by the town’s strategic location at the intersection of the Chichibu Okan Road and Hachioji Highway, making it a bustling hub for commerce and transportation during that era. With numerous markets attracting merchants, the demand for sake was high, creating the perfect environment for Matsuoka Brewery to thrive.

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One of Ogawamachi’s greatest assets was its pristine water source, originating from the Chichibu Mountains and purified by a limestone layer. This mineral-rich, natural hard water was ideal for brewing sake and became an integral part of Matsuoka Brewery’s success. With abundant access to water, rice, and a thriving market, the brewery had all the ingredients needed for crafting exceptional sake.

Initially known as Osakaya, the brewery sold sake under the brand name “Matsuzakari.” However, the representative brand was later changed to “Mikadomatsu,” symbolizing the desire to maintain the pinnacle of sake brewing for generations to come. “Mikado” meaning emperor and “matsu” symbolizing the evergreen pine tree conveyed the aspiration for prosperity and longevity. This brand is renowned for its sweet and fruity flavors and boasts a diverse lineup of approximately 150 products, catering to varying tastes and preferences.

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One standout sake from Matsuoka Brewery is the aptly named “CEO’s Sake,” introduced by the fifth-generation owner, Yuji. During the Showa Period’s high economic growth, Ginjo sake was still relatively unknown. Matsuoka Brewery played a pioneering role by offering Ginjo sake that was neither special grade nor first grade but quickly gained popularity in Saitama Prefecture. This unexpected gem was originally intended for limited production and as gifts from the CEO, hence its distinctive name. Today, “CEO’s Sake” continues to be cherished as an auspicious choice for special occasions.

Matsuoka Brewery’s commitment to delivering exceptional sake extends to their meticulous selection of brewer’s rice, carefully chosen based on the intended sake type. From the renowned A-ranked Yamadanishiki to local varieties like Sakemusashi, the brewery’s dedication to quality shines through in every bottle. With a storied history, dedication to tradition, and a passion for excellence, Matsuoka Brewery remains a cornerstone of the sake-making heritage, delighting connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.

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