Local business is bringing a true taste of Japan with a distinct Hawaii flavor to Sake

Local business is bringing a true taste of Japan with a distinct Hawaii flavor to Sake

This is from KHON2.


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Tucked away on N. King St., between Smith and Nuuanu, you’ll find a true taste of Japan with a distinct Hawaii flavor.

Islander Sake Brewery is a small business with a big goal of bringing the best sake making techniques developed by Brew Masters in Japan to Hawaii. “Sake from Japan is very limited, limited by the people drinking. I hope people understand there’s much more to Sake so that’s why we want to make Sake here,” said co-owner Tama Hirose.


Hirose is a journalism student at the University of Hawaii who teamed up with co-owner Chiaki Takahashi, a former medical worker is Japan who wanted to pursue something more exciting. But Tama was looking for something less stressful.  Turns out Sake was the perfect remedy for both of them. So they opened their brewery and izakaya at the Mauna Kea resort on the Big Island.


“The Japanese Sake has long history. And is always present from births to weddings to funerals,” said Chiaki Takahashi.

“So the good things the bad things always we have Sake in Japan. It’s a good communication tool for the people to understand each other,” she continued.


Now the two are looking to combine the best of Japan and Hawaii to create something that will bring that sense of history and communication to the islands. And it all starts with the best rice. “We’re using the rice from Japan and California,” said Tama. “We’re taking advantage of the distance in the middle from Japan and the mainland.”


For Chiakai who studied to become a brew master at the age of 40, the next most important ingredient is the purest water. And she says the water doesn’t get any better than from the local volcano. “Yes, from Mauna Kea volcano melted water and that little bit of minerals.” Something else that makes their Sake distinctly Hawaiian are the local fruits.


“Lilikoi, sometime, we do the guava and also the Kona coffee and pineapple, yes,” said Tama. Both Tama and Chiaka say the fresh ingredients are what makes the sake tasty and clean. “Our sake is really good, so I hope here in Hawaii people discovery how important it is to have a local Sake brewery. Same water use for Sake and cooking is very important,” added Tama.


“Sake is very clean and easy to drink so we don’t have pasteurized just like wine the fermentation flavors a lot very aromatic and the taste is natural so easy to drink yeah,” continued Chiaki. And it’s always the perfect conversation started. “It’s a sense of talking and communicating with people, and with sake, it’s much easier. In Japan, I learned, I learned how to start communicating with people by drinking sake together,” Tama said.