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The exact origin of sake is unclear because it predates recorded history, but the earliest known production of the drink took place in China roughly around 500 BC. The process was crude; villagers would gather to chew rice and nuts, spitting the contents into a communal tub which would then be stored and left to ferment (the enzymes in their saliva aided the fermentation process). Perhaps for the best, this method was soon abandoned after the discovery of koji, a mold enzyme that could be added to rice to begin fermentation. This brewing technique is believed to have spread throughout Japan in the Nara period (710 to 794), resulting in sake as we know it today.
Behind all good Sake is a good brewery, know as a Sakagura, or simply Kura. It is said that just knowing a little bit about where a sake comes from and the people who make it increases your enjoyment of that drink. The Sake industry is currently undergoing great change, both internally and externally. Having shed its unfashionable image, it is now on the way to global recognition as a premium craft beverage. Sake doesn’t have to be complicated, but if you want to unlock its full potential exploring its many intricacies will prove to be a rewarding endeavour.
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