Hyde Park: The New Sake Capital of America
Picture it: You and your friends are sitting in the warm grass under a cherry tree loaded with fragrant blossoms. A slight breeze blows petals from the branches and they almost fall into the cup of sake in your hand.
Sounds like an expensive Spring Break trip to Japan right? Wrong. As of spring 2019, the Hudson Valley will be home to the area's first sake brewery, only about one mile from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), blossoming cherry trees and all.
Asahi Shuzo, maker of Dassai premium sake, chose to build its newest brewery in Hyde Park with the proximity of CIA in mind. Not only will Asahi Shuzo be brewing sake for local sale and consumption, they will be partnering with the esteemed culinary school to develop a curriculum based around sake and Japanese culture.
During a recent press conference and sake tasting event at there, CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan spoke about the brewery and its partnership with the school. “Japan is a country steeped in tradition and history. We love the Japanese and their reverence for food and beverage. Their intensity, respect, and mastery of their cuisine is an inspiration to us at The Culinary Institute of America. Asahi Shuzo is a leader in its field, carefully combining both tradition and cutting-edge technology to craft its premium-quality beverage.”
The brewery will begin construction this spring and is aiming to brew 332,000 gallons of high quality sake called junmai dai ginjo each year of production. The space will include a retail area and tasting room, and the entire brewery will be open for public tours. Through their partnership, the CIA and Asahi Shuzo hope to promote research and development opportunities to further identify ways in which sake, and the by-product from the sake- making process, can be used to expand food flavors and culinary techniques, as well as new lines of sake-based products.
Third-generation sake brewer and Asahi Shuzo Chairman Hiroshi Sakurai and his son, Kazuhiro Sakurai, president of Asahi Shuzo, also spoke at the recent press event. Chairman Sakurai said he is “excited to build on the tradition of making sake and brewing it in a place like Hyde Park will contribute to the areas as a culinary capital.” He plans to move to Hyde Park while production at the brewery begins to assure that the sake made is of the highest quality. President Sakurai said he is looking forward to expanding sake in America and seeing how the beverage can be paired with American cuisines.
Production of the spirit will not only expand the fast-growing craft beverage industry in the Hudson Valley but will bring thirty-two new local jobs and present another opportunity for tourism to the area.
State and county representatives also spoke to the new brewery project and Asahi Shuzo’s partnership with the CIA, including New York State Sen. Sue Serino, Empire State Development CEO Howard Zemsky and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro.
“From fine foods to craft beer, wines, and distilled spirits, Dutchess Coutny has become a food and beverage destination.” said Molinaro. “Now, CIA students and visitors alike will have first- hand access to a working sake brewery. The economic impact through this project, in addition to new jobs and increased tourism, will not only benefit Hyde Park, but all the surrounding communities.”
Stay tuned for more information on the brewery’s grand opening.