Misato Nishiki is Akita Prefecture's own unique strain of sake rice. The most famous strain of sake rice used in sake production is Yamada Nishiki, however, as it is a late harvest rice, it is difficult to cultivate in the cool climate of northern prefectures like Akita. Extensive research was undertaken to develop a sake rice strain which was specifically suited to Akita’s terroir, and Misato Nishiki?a hybrid of Yamada Nishiki and Miyama Nishiki?was born as a result. It’s name was derived from the small town of Misato, where Kuribayashi Brewing & Co. is located, and the word “nishiki” (brocade) which evokes imagery of rich golden hued rice growing in the fields.
Kuribayashi Brewing & Co. proudly considers the sake rice to be fundamental element in its sake brewing.
In 2005, Kuribayashi Brewing & Co. began working with local contract farmers to cultivate Misato Nishiki. The rice processes the key characteristics needed for high-quality sake brewing: a large grain with a small proportion of proteins (which can inhibit fermentation) in its outer layer, and can be finely milled with out drying out and cracking. However, it is not an easy to sake rice cultivate. In that sense, it could be said that Misato Nishiki is “a sake rice for expert brewers only".
Naoaki Kuribayashi, the seventh generation owner and master brewer, believes Misato Nishiki has a natural compatibility with the local subterranean water water and yeast he uses for brewing. Because of its suitability to Kuribayashi Brewing & Co.’s brewing style, he has gradually increased cultivation year by year. Since 2019, more than 80% of sake produced at Kuribayashi Brewing & Co. is made with locally grown Misato Nishiki.