Museum of Sake Journal Summer 2015 - Page 48

HAYASHI HONTEN SAKE BREWERY Some aspects of brewery life created quite beautiful moments and images. I vividly remember, on my first day standing in the brewery and thinking “it’s raining in here!” (and it really was). The rice steamer was going full blast and the billowing steam had risen, condensed on the cold roof and was now dripping back down, creating a mini rain shower. At other times you’d emerge from the koji room into a dense fog of steam hanging in the air like dragon’s breath. Shoes, and the frequent changing thereof, was another unforeseen aspect of brewery life. I’ve lived in Japan and am very used to swapping shoes when going from one space to another, in fact I’m totally on board with the idea; however, when you’re carrying a 15kg bag of steaming rice over your shoulder and it’s burning a hole in your back the LAST thing you want to do is take off one pair of shoes, put on another, climb a flight of stairs, cross a room, take off the shoes, put on another pair before finally heaving the rice up onto a table! But these little idiosyncrasies are what give each brewery its character. They are the things you really remember, that hook into your soul and make you smile when you recall them. That and the indomitable spirit of the people who work there. Come rain, shine, sleet, snow, hot, cold, untimely slipper changes or not - they’re there, giving it their all so that we can all enjoy one of the greate