Less than 50 sake breweries in Japan are female-owned, and this crowdfunding project offers a chance to sample brews from a dozen of them.

Making sake isn’t one of the things that women are prohibited from doing in Japan, but the vast majority of the country’s sake breweries, or shuzo, as they’re called in Japanese, are run by men. It’s estimated that in all of Japan, only about 45 sake breweries have a female owner or head brewer, and now a group of them has banded together with a special project to raise awareness of their brands.

Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake is currently taking pledges for a series of 12 types of sake made by female brewers, who’re collectively calling themselves the Kurajo.

Each of the 12 breweries, some of which have histories stretching back more than a century, is contributing one specially prepared variety, simply called No1 through No12.

The breweries taking part in the project are:
● Watanabe Shuzo (Gifu Prefecture)
● Yoshida Shuzo (Fukui)
● Kinginka Shuzo (Aichi)
● Sawada Shuzo (Aichi)
● Terada Shuzo (Shimane)
● Mukai Shuzo (Kyoto)
● Nadagiku Shuzo (Ishikawa)
● Moriki Shuzo (Mie)
● Tabata Shuzo (Wakayama)
● Sato Shuzo (Saitama)
● Hirai Shoten (Shiga)

Each brew in the set is a dry sake, and in keeping with its theme of “These are the kind of men we want to drink our sake,” the backside of each label contains an illustration and description of a stylish gentleman.

The crowdfunding campaign has already blown past its goal of 1,200,000 yen (US$240,000), but with more than a month left to go, backers can still obtain a 720-milliliter (24.3-ounce) bottle of the sake of their choice for 5,500 yen, a not-exorbitant price for high-quality sake. Stepping up to a 9,000-yen pledge gets you two bottles plus an invitation to an “opening party” in Kyoto in April. If those sound like the sort of drinking and/or travel plans you’d like to make, you can find the project’s Makuake page here.

Source: Makuake
Top image: Makuake
Insert images: YouTube/Staff Bauhaus, Makuake
[ Read in Japanese ]