The Birth of Sake

I urgently want to share that a great movie is currently available this week in NYC.

The Birth of Sake is a documentary film that explores how sake is handcrafted at a family-owned Japanese brewery in Ishikawa Prefecture. The movie is having a special screening till March 24, 2015 at the IFC Center in Manhattan, NY. This is a must to see movie for anyone interested in sake, Japanese food and its culture.


In a world where most mass produced goods are heavily automated, a small group of artisans must brave unusual working conditions to preserve a 2000-year-old tradition that we have come to know as saké. THE BIRTH OF SAKÉ is a cinematic documentary that reveals the story of passionate saké-makers and what it takes to make world-class saké at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan. The workers at Yoshida Brewery are an eclectic cast of characters, ranging from 20 to 70 years old. As a vital part of this cast that must live and work for a six-month period through the brutal winter, charismatic veteran brewmaster Yamamoto (65) and the brewery’s sixth-generation heir, Yasuyuki Yoshida (27), are keepers of this tradition, and are the main characters who bring the narrative forward. Currently, stiff competition and the eventual retirement of experienced workers intensify the pressure of preserving quality of taste, tradition and brand reputation for Yoshida Brewery. As craftsmen who must dedicate their whole lives to the making of this world-class saké, their private sacrifices are often sizable and unseen.

94 Minutes, In Japanese with English subtitles, USA

Tribeca Film Festival: Special Jury Mention, Best New Documentary Director

Palm Springs International Film Festival: John Schlesinger Award for Debut Documentary


Here is the review of NY Times.

Mr. Shirai nicely shuffles in the back stories of several workers, and his shots of sky, sea and early morning landscapes could fit amid Hokusaiwoodcuts. At 94 minutes, the film’s pacing drags at times. But as Mr. Yamamoto might say, it takes what it takes. You can’t rush the process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *