Go Circular! Vol.1 Achieving a circular economy in the sake industry

Tsunan Sake Brewery

02/02/2022 8:10 pm

Tsunan sake brewery and Umino Co., Ltd collaborate for a circular economy.

Tsunan, Niigata (February 2nd, 2022) — We have entered into an agreement with Umino Co., Ltd to further accelerate the transformation of sake lees upcycling and collaborate on recycling solutions to enable a circular economy.

A circular economy encourages the elimination of waste through the reuse of resources. The Tsunan sake brewery aims to achieve a circular economy with rice farmers in Japan, through the Flavor Oyster, their very first oyster product produced for this initiative.

【Our circular action plans】
The Tsunan sake brewery to achieve a circular economy through three steps:
01 The Tsunan sake brewery reuses our sake lees, which are essentially the by-products of sake production.
02 These sake lees are upcycled to produce new sake products such as ice-cream and the Flavor Oyster.
03 Profits from the sale of these products are used to purchase new rice from rice farmers. These rice are subsequently delivered back to sake breweries to produce sake, and the cycle repeats.

The sake production yields 70 percent of sake and 30 percent of sake lees. Given that the country produces 96,000 tons of sake annually, it also means that there are over 20,000 tons of leftover sake lees every year. Beyond sake lees, land abandonment is a growing issue in rural Japan.Abandoned lands are prone to degeneration. The soils are fragile and much likely to erode which would affect farming. They also indicate a poor use of resources.

This is where The Ethical Sake Project is relevant. We believe the workings of the project make up for the loss of harvest. By utilizing the profits made from the sale of new oyster products made from sake lees to outsource rice to sake breweries, it fills up the gap of unharvested rice.

Our goal for the future is to regenerate a hundred percent of abandoned lands in the Tsunan rural area and protect Japan’s agricultural traditions. We also hope to establish Japan’s very first ethical brewery.

What is Go Circular? ー how we’re designing more circular products
Making more circular products demands more than an extra step in the sake-making process. We are changing the way we develop our products.
Go Circular is a new approach that helps our product teams understand the impact of our decisions, make better choices and develop products that are fit for a circular beverage economy.We hope to use the Circulator to develop all our products by 2028.
About Tsunan Sake Brewery
Founded in 1996, Tsunan sake brewery is the maker of sustainable sake.
Our ambition is “Brew for future”, achieving a new lifestyle, living with Sakagura.
For more information, including the products, visit our website.