Sakata Shuzo was formed in 1946 when the five small breweries in the town of Sakata decided to merge together to pool resources and start distributing sake nationally instead of competing over the local market. The combined brewery has since established a reputation as the leading producer in Yamagata of premium grade sake with close to 80% of the sake they produce being honjozo grade or higher and are a leader in the labor intensive kimoto style as well.
In recent years the brewery has become a constant feature in national tasting competitions, taking top honors five years in a row. A lot of this is due to the tireless efforts of the man serving as both brewery president and head toji brewmaster: Shoichi Sato. Sato is recognized as one of the leading toji in the country, serving as a mentor and source of knowledge for many other brewers. Not content to simply rely on the same ingredients and methods, Sato is known for constantly experimenting with new rice varietals and methods of fermentation, all while relying on decades of brewing experience.
The brewery’s signature Jokigen brand has become one of the most awarded premium sake brands in the country, a classic Yamagata style sake with a excellent definition and structure and a characteristic mild fruitiness.