Noguchi Naohiko, ‘The God of sake brewing', lengend of never ending sake brewing
Noguchi Naohiko, who is known as ‘The God of sake brewing’, is already 88 years of age, normally men of this age should be staying at home enjoying his retirement life, and enjoy the blessings of children and grandchildren. However, it is beyond imagination that an 88-year-old elderly is still engaged in such kind of labour intensive work.
For sure, Noguchi has retired, not once but three times. He has been producing a set of most sought after, traditional yet modern sake for ‘Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute’ since his latest return in 2017.
Born in 1932 at Noto (then Uchiura) city, Noguchi began his sake brewing career soon after graduating from secondary school. After working in breweries in Shizuoka and Mie for more than 10 years, he joined Kikuhime in 1961 until the company’s designated retirement age of 65. Being a Noto Toji (Master Sake Brewer), he succeeded in showing savouriness of rice in the sake, his sake was crowned gold prize in the National Sake Competition through his 36 years in Kikuhime. Its Daiginjo is also the first sake chosen to be served in first class of Japan Airlines. The total production of Kikuhime rise from 700 goku (1 goku=180L) to 7,000 goku thanks to Noguchi’s contribution.
In the winter after his retirement, he was moved by the sincerity and joined the brewery producing ‘Jokigen’, not only he introduced the top quality Yamahai brewing technique into sake making, koji making techniques were hugely improved. The status and reputation of the brewery was enormously boosted. Workers who made sake with Noguchi, are all now working
in different breweries over the country as independent master brewers.
Noguchi’s success was recognised by Japanese government, he was awarded the title of ‘Modern Master Craftsman’ by The Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare; together with Sambai Kouichi of ‘Masuizumi’, Hase Shoukichi of ‘Kai-un’ and Naka Saburou of ‘Tengumai’, Noguchi is one of the ‘Four Heavenly Kings of Noto Toji’.
After 14 years of working for ‘Jokigen’, Noguchi decided to open his own sake brewery by buying a bankrupted brewery and invested all he had at that time to rebuild and renew equipment. He continued to produce sake which is complex in tastes with attractive and intense aromas. Since the total production was less than 400 goku, his sake became the dream sake of drinkers at the time in all major cities, thererfore they were sold out immediately after release.
After 2 years of retirement, Noguchi felt his body was deteriorating quickly, he known that he has to work to a certain extent in order to gain longevity. He thus accepted the invitation to lead the ‘Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute’.
To experience Noguchi's sake, the flagship yamahai product ‘Muroka Nama Genshu Yamahai Aiyama’ is the first sake you must try, and ‘Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu Gohyakumangoku’ is recommended if you are eager to understand Noguchi’s brewing style, as well as regionality. The Rare Malt provides various sake from Noguchi's collection too, which every sake lover would love to taste!
Noguchi Naohiko’s Sake in Stock: