Muji is selling sake, and it’ll make drinkers feel good in more ways than one
Delicious sake that gives a small town a helping hand is definitely something worth raising a cup to/of.
Mujirushi Ryohin, also known as Muji, is completely committed to the comprehensive nature of being a lifestyle brand. It’s hard to think of another store you can walk into and buy not only furniture for every room in your home, but a complete wardrobe of clothing to fill the closets, plus a washing machine to wash said clothing in after you wear it (oh, and also 53 different kinds of curry).
And if a nice stiff drink at the end of the day is also part of your lifestyle, Mujirushi is ready to support you on that front too, since this month it’ll be releasing its own sake.
In keeping with the brand’s penchant for understated design, it’s simply called “Nihonshu,” the term used in Japanese for what’s called “sake” in English (in modern-era Japanese, sake is more of a catch-all term for any drinkable alcoholic beverage). Brewed by Matsuno Shuzojo, a Niigata Prefecture brewery that’s been in business for more than 120 years, Mujirushi’s Nihonshu uses Koshihikari rice grown in the Matsudai district of the Niigata town of Tokamachi.
Matsudai’s mountain roads are too steep and narrow for large-scale agricultural machinery to traverse, meaning that much of the farming has to be done by hand. Combine that with an aging population, and growing rice isn’t exactly easy for Matsudai’s farmers, despite the flavor and quality of their produce.
▼ Terraced rice fields in Matsudai’s Hoshitoge (“Star Mountain Pass”) area
星峠の棚田【新潟県】— みおむぅ＠フォロバ100 (@maimai21345) April 2, 2022
So to help them sell all they can grow, Mujirushi, as part of its Local Resource Utilization initiative, uses Matsudai rice, with a luxurious polishing rate of 65 percent, in its Nihonshu. Also part of the brewing process is water thawed from Niigata winter snow, and the result, Mujirushi says, is a dry junmai karakuchi sake with strong rice notes.
Mujirushi’s Nihonshu goes on sale in limited quantities April 29 at the chain’s Ginza, Tokyo Ariake, Shin Yurigaoka Opa, Naoetsu, Grand Front Osaka, Namba, Kyoto Yamashina, Canal City Hakata, and Share Star Hakodate branches, priced at 1,800 yen (US$14.50) for a 720-mililiter (24.3-ounce) bottle.