Suigei was founded in 1872. The original brewery is situation close to Katsurahama in Kochi city, but the company has recently opened an ultramodern facility in Tosa City, about thirty minutes to the west of Kochi.
This new brewery is situated on a tributary of the Niyodo River. The plain grey boxy buildings contrast with the vivid greenery around. Through one of the doorways is a large tasting room. It features bare concrete, modern furniture, a wall of refrigerators, a bar, various Japanesque exhibits, and a big screen showing scenes of New Yorkers enjoying Suigei. Here you can taste the dry, elegant sake that Suigei brews to accompany food.
Suigei prides itself on its high polishing ratios, which tend to produce a more refined taste. The brewery tour begins in the polishing room dominated by a very tall upright mill, a rarity in Shikoku breweries where most outsource this task.
Old breweries are typically cluttered, dusty and cramped, and the shininess and spaciousness of this facility is a bit overwhelming. There are familiar sights though, like the Shinto god shelf above the unfamiliar digital dashboards. A visit to Suigei’s new facility represents a fascinating contrast with the older breweries nearby.
Suigei means ‘drunken whale’, in honour of Yamauchi Yodo, the Lord of Tosa at the end of the Edo Period. He was a big drinker who referred to himself as a drunken whale.
Name in Japanese: 酔鯨
Address: 2001-1 Kanbara, Tosa, Kochi 781-1113