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Close to Home: Japanese rice wine sake breweries that call Brooklyn home

News 12 went behind the scenes inside two sake breweries in the heart of Brooklyn to learn about the traditional Japanese rice wine.

News 12 Staff

Dec 15, 2022, 6:13 PM

Updated 552 days ago

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News 12 went behind the scenes inside two sake breweries in the heart of Brooklyn to learn about the traditional Japanese rice wine.
Sake is traditionally made in Japan, but two sake breweries can be found in Brooklyn. Shinobu Kato opened the small brewery Kato Sake Works on Central Avenue in Bushwick in 2020. Kato and his team make about 200 bottles of sake per week.
The ingredients are simple - filtered water, rice, yeast and most importantly, koji, a domesticated mold with enzymes in it that help break down the starch into a sugar. They make about six different kinds of sake, and all of them have a Bushwick twist.
Heading over to Sunset Park, Brooklyn Kura opened in 2018 as the very first sake brewery in the state.
Brian Polen and his partner Brandon Doughan fell in love with sake on a trip to Japan several years ago. Doughan started making sake in his basement in Portland, Oregon, while Polen started in his dining room in Brooklyn.
They now produce up to a 1,000 bottles a week following the strictest rules of sake-making in Brooklyn Kura. They about a half-dozen different kinds, including one in partnership with Kato Sake Works.
Both places offer tastings and are open to the public from Friday to Sunday.


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