Founded in 1957, the Good Design Award is the only comprehensive design evaluation and recommendation system in Japan. suginomori brewery has been awarded the Good Design Award 2022 for its project to revive and improve the production environment of an old sake brewery, towards more sustainable sake brewing.

Suginomori Shuzo was a sake brewery established in 1793 but closed down in 2012. As part of a joint revitalization project by Shiojiri City and Takenaka Corporation, plans were underway to renovate it into a multi-use facility consisting of an inn, restaurant, and public bath that would completely replace the brewery. However, voices from the community revealed that sake had been a spiritual mainstay of the neighborhood. Kiraku, working as a business advisor to the project, felt that given the long history of Suginomori Shuzo, the brewery was an asset that must be preserved and passed on to future generations. Utilizing a portion of the old brewery, we rebranded Suginomori Shuzo to suginomori brewery, and restarted brewing with the launch of a new sake brand, narai.

In an effort to create an efficient brewing environment, we designed a space in which the entire brewing process can be done by a single toji (master brewer) – departing from the system of traditional breweries that typically require a large number of people and divisions of labor. As a result, the toji can supervise the entire process, ensuring the production of high-quality sake to match the high unit price, despite a small-lot production. In addition, whereas most breweries only produce through the winter months, suginomori has introduced shiki-jozo, or year-round brewing, to ensure not only that production runs at ultimate efficiency, but also that we can provide a stable and sustainable work environment for our employees, too.

We have also designed a bottle that uses direct printing, improving the efficiency of shipping operations by removing the extra burden of attaching paper labels as typically seen on sake bottles. Our environmentally friendly packaging is uniquely designed to be recyclable and durable, allowing us to send narai overseas without the need for overpackaging.

Press Release Here (Japanese)