WHAT’S SAKE?! We Asked Miho Imada, Master Brewer & President of Imada Brewery

Since Japanese cuisine was registered as a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013, it has become increasingly popular in all parts of the world, and the number of Japanese restaurants is increasing here in Canada. Alongside Japanese cuisine, nihonshu—Japanese rice wine—which has been loved by Japanese people since ancient times, has also received attention as “SAKE'' and has won many awards at international competitions.

We wanted Canadians to know more about the appeal of SAKE, so we would like to introduce the creator of “Fukucho Hattanso Junmai Ginjo” sake, which was enjoyed by world leaders at the G7 Hiroshima Summit held in May of this year. We spoke with Miho Imada, President and Chief Brewer of Imada Sake Brewery, during her visit to Calgary.

Miho Imada: Profile

Miho Imada
Miho Imada
Miho was born in Akitsu Town, Hiroshima Prefecture. After graduating from university, she worked at Seibu Department Store and Japan Musical Arts Promotion Association Hashi no Kai, then joined Imada Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. in 1994, where she learned sake brewing under the former chief brewer, and eventually became chief brewer and representative director of Imada Sake Brewing Co., Ltd. She appeared in the sake documentary film "Kanpai! Women Who Fell in Love with Sake" (directed by Mirai Konishi), which was released nationwide on April 27, 2019. Last fall, she was the only Japanese person to be selected as one of the “100 Women of 2020” by the British BBC.


Sake is a brewed alcoholic beverage similar to beer and wine, and is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice, rice malt, and water. It is an alcoholic beverage that is drunk as-is after fermenting the raw materials and squeezing out the liquid. It is different from spirits such as shochu, whiskey, and gin.


The manufacturing method is extremely complex and delicate, and the traditionally cultivated sake brewing techniques include some that have yet to be explained by science. Wine has its own successes depending on the harvest of the grapes that are used as raw materials, but sake does not have as big a difference in taste as it does with wine. This is because by using traditional koji making techniques, it is possible to control the sugar content derived from raw materials.

The taste of Japanese sake has a long history of being deeply connected to the local climate and food culture. For example, Akitsu Town, where our brewery is located, is the town of Hiroshima's chief brewer. The Seto Inland Sea's abundant seafood and gentle climate foster the delicate taste of ginjo sake, and it is said to be the birthplace of ginjo sake.

Also, since sake is an alcoholic beverage that can be enjoyed with food, you can enjoy it by adjusting the temperature, container, etc.


The Master Brewer at Work
The Master Brewer at Work
The brewer is responsible for all aspects of brewing in the brewery. They are not only the brewer, but also responsible for everything related to brewing, including the staffing affairs of brewers.


Imada Brewery
Fukucho Hattanso Junmai Ginjo
We would like to cherish Ginjo brewing that is rooted in the tradition of Hiroshima master brewers, centering on Hattanso, a raw material rice selected by the nature of local Hiroshima and grown and brewed only by our company. At the same time, we will continue to explore the possibilities and tastes that make Japanese sake a world-class drink.