The Birth of Saké

In a world where most mass produced goods are heavily automated, a small group of artisans must brave unusual working conditions to preserve a 2000-year-old tradition that we have come to know as saké. THE BIRTH OF SAKÉ is a cinematic documentary that reveals the story of passionate saké-makers and what it takes to make world-class saké at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan. The workers at Yoshida Brewery are an eclectic cast of characters, ranging from 20 to 70 years old. As a vital part of this cast that must live and work for a six-month period through the brutal winter, charismatic veteran brewmaster Yamamoto (65) and the brewery’s sixth-generation heir, Yasuyuki Yoshida (27), are keepers of this tradition, and are the main characters who bring the narrative forward. As craftsmen who must dedicate their whole lives to the making of this world-class saké, their private sacrifices are often sizable and unseen.

The film can be found on Netflix and iTunes.

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Director: Erik Shirai
Producer: Masako Tsumura
Editor: Takeshi Fukunaga/Frederick Shanahan
Director of Photography: Erik Shirai
Consulting Editor: Nadav Kurtz
Associate Editor: Juan Leguizamon/ Sheila Shirazi
Music Composer: Ken Kaizu
Sound Design/Mix: One Thousand Birds
Graphic Design: STUDIO NEWWORK
Animation and Visual Effects: Aaron Kemnitzer
Colorist: Nat Jencks