Kiuchi Sake brewery was established in 1823 by Gihei Kiuchi who was the village headman of Kounosu village, Naka County. At that time Japan was ruled by powerful family clans called “daimyō”. One of these clans the Mito Tokugawa family established the “Koudoukan”, a private school.
Many patriots assembled at the “Koudoukan” from all over Japan and studied the ideology of the Mito Tokugawa family. A person who became the center of the “Koudoukan” was Toko Fujita.
Toko Fujita invited many of the patriots visiting the “Koudoukan” to Kiuchi brewery and drink Sake together. As a respect to the Tenno, Toko Fujita called the Sake “Kikusakari”. “Kiku” (chrysanthemum) is a symbol of the Tenno and “Sakari” means to flourish.
The new Kiuchi generations brewed “Kikusakari” with the same quality ingredients and respected craftsmanship. When Mikio Kiuchi inherited the brewery legacy in the 1950s, the Sake industry was growing rapidly along with the growing economy, which filled the market with low quality, cheap, mass produced Sake. However, Mikio Kiuchi stuck to the century old high end Sake philosophy that had been the hallmark of Kiuchi Brewery since 1823.
The current family leaders, Youichi and Toshiyuki Kiuchi jumped at the chance to take Kiuchi Brewery into the artisanal craft beer market after regulations on the Japanese brewing licenses were relaxed in 1994. They bought brewing equipment from abroad, worked with their friends from across the globe and fused their history and experience of Sake brewing into their artisanal brews. Hence Hitachino Nest “Owl” Beer was born.
Hitachino Nest “Owl” Beer stood out from other Japanese beers with its use of unique Japanese ingredients and methods such as Japanese Kaneko barley, red rice, rice koji, yuzu fruit, fukure mandarin oranges, and cedar casks. This brought highest international attention, admiration and gold medals at numerous international beer competitions.
The Kiuchi brothers continue to challenge themselves to new innovations. Always connecting their ideas to the deep history and culture of Japan. Shochu, Plum Liqueur, Hitachino Nest “Owl” Beer Spirits and their own Japanese “Owl” whisky have now joined the brewing/distilling/aging stage