Museum of Sake Journal Summer 2016 - Page 41

THE AMERICAN DREAM CEDAR RIVER BREWING CO. Jeff James recently set up the Cedar River Brewing Company in Seattle, Washington: “My work background is mainly in the software development industry, and more recently in commercial real estate management. I started brewing beer about 15 years ago, but never commercially. I liked brewing a lot and became fairly proficient at it. For many years I’ve had a dream of opening a small brewery. I’ve always enjoyed sake, but until about 6 years ago I’d had only inexpensive, hot, house sake. Then I tried a premium sake and felt I had opened the door to a whole new world! A year later I brewed my first batch of sake, and it came out pretty well. Soon I started thinking about brewing sake on a commercial basis. When I discovered our current space on Phinney Ridge in Seattle, the time was right and it was too good to pass up. We had not had a sake brewery in this state in over 70 years until I opened Cedar River. “We started brewing the first batch in July 2013. Sales started on International Sake Day, October 1st 2013. Our production is very small, only several hundred cases each year. We have recently scaled up production by about 50%, but we plan to stay small and artisanal. We make four styles: Junmai, Nama, Nigori, and Taru. All are junmai sake. The most American thing I do is craft a taru-style sake with American Western Red Cedar. This is a different species of cedar than used in Japan. The results are very similar, but knowledgeable sake drinkers may recognize the difference. Regarding American style, I would say I try to bring a little of that to our sake while still honoring and emulating the quality of Japanese sake. We get our water [and name] from the Cedar River which flows out of the Cascade Mountains here in western Washington. Our area is known for having some of the best brewing water in the country. Cedar River water helps make our sake clean and fresh. We use Calrose rice grown in California . Our supplier polishes the rice for us to our specification. Currently we are using 60% seimaibuai rice for all of our styles.Another thing that is particularly American about our sake is the packaging and labelling. We use water color art on the label that is designed to evoke the feeling of the Pacific Northwest region of the country. We are targeting a market of people interested in both local and Asian or Japanese-influenced products. Most of the restaurants that carry our sake feature Japanese or Asian-style items made with local ingredients. We are targeting restaurants and bottle shops, and we sell bottles out of the brewery”. SAKEONE Oregon-based, SakeOne started brewing craft sake in 1997. It was the first and is the largest of the smaller-scale American craft sake breweries. Well established, the brewery sells sake across the US, and exports to other countries in North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. Valerie Fayette, from SakeOne explains the brewery’s origins: “SakeOne was originally founded to import Japanese sake to the United States. Realizing the potential for sake making in the Pacific NW, in part due to the pristine water source of the east slope of Oregon’s coastal range, the founder of the company, Griffith Frost, along with import partner, Momokawa Brewing of Japan, decided to try making craft MUSEUM OF SAKE JOURNAL 41