Christmas at Toronto’s own Sake Brewery – Market Starts Tomorrow!

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The Toronto Christmas Market is running tomorrow through December 16 in the Distillery District.  During this time we will be offering:

1.    HOT SAKE TRAVELERS – A delicious 100ml cup of our “Warm Winter Blend” is available ‘to-go’ Friday evenings and all day Saturdays and Sundays.  A refreshing and warming alternative to hot chocolate or mulled wine!  Or stay and enjoy a carafe of the hot stuff and venture further into the sake portfolio at our comfortable tasting bar.

2.    GIFT BASKETS – Fresh local bottled sake and/or imported sakeware, beautifully wrapped and ready to surprise your friends and business colleagues with!  Priced for all budgets.

3.    CUSTOM-LABELLED SAKE – We are happy to custom-label Izumi sake bottles to your personal or corporate requirements with a very reasonable 1-case minimum.





Izumi Teion Sakura teams with George Restaurant Chef Lorenzo’s black cod dish to win Silver Medal at 2012 Gold Medal Plates

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     The Gold Medal Plates organizers today announced the winners of the September 25 Toronto event, including silver medal winner George Restaurant Chef Lorenzo Loseto’s black cod dish paired with Izumi Teion Sakura Junmai Sake.  We are honoured that George’s team including Sommelier JP Potters paired one of our sakes with their cod plate, and are proud to share in their Silver Medal success.  Congratulations to George Restaurant!

Judges James Chatto, Sasha Chapman, Anita Stewart and Christine Cushing commented as follows:  “Our silver medal winner was Lorenzo Loseto of George – the only Toronto chef to compete in every Gold Medal Plates event in the modern era. This is his third silver medal, which also puts him in a very small and exalted group of one. Yesterday he worked with black cod, timing the fish to moist perfection and crusting it with crushed cashews held together by an invisible beet tapenade that added a delightful earthy sweetness to the flavour of the nuts. Beside it was a tiny stack of soft juicy beet salad, a ½-inch mound of pungent avocado mousse and a scattering of minuscule pickled samiji mushrooms and wild leeks. A scattering of black beans and coriander seedlings boosted the earthy flavours and the whole dish rested on a tissue-thin magic carpet of shaved radish. The match with an exceptionally floral, fruity 2012 Teion Sakura Junmai sake from Toronto’s own Ontario Spring Water Sake Company was masterful.”

Congratulations to Gold Medal winner Auberge du Pommier’s foie gras dish paired with Peller Estates’ Ice Cuvee Rose ice wine, and Bronze Medal winner Panagaea’s venison dish paired with 13th Street Essence 2009 Pinot Noir.






Newsflash: fresh Koji and Shiokoji available in limited supply this Sunday Sept 23!

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Many of our customers have asked about the possibility of buying freshly made KOJI and/or SHIOKOJI from the brewery.  As an experiment, we will be making extra koji during this weekend’s sake koji production run to be ready for this Sunday, September 23.

Koji will be available for pick up this Sunday only (we have no means to store it) at a cost of $3 per 100g, to be paid by credit card at time of ordering.  Koji is useful for a number of things including sake home-brewing, making homemade AMAZAKE (naturally sweet non-alcoholic sake, usually served warm) and making SHIOKOJI.

We will also make some of our own SHIOKOJI, which will be available at our brewery store starting at around 3pm on Sunday September 23 at a cost of $7 per 175-g tub while supplies last.  Shiokoji is useful as a flavour enhancer, a meat tenderizer and quick pickling agent for vegetables.  Shiokoji purchased at the brewery will need to be kept at room temperature for a period of time as per instructions to be provided, but will then be stable for use over a period of several months.

Those wishing to order KOJI or SHIKOJI can call us at  416-365-SAKE (7253) or email us at

Thank you very much & hope to see you Sunday!




Sake Institute of Ontario announces Educational Event on National Sake Day October 1 featuring Head Brewer Greg Newton

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Sake Institute of Ontario announces Educational Event on National Sake Day October 1 featuring Head Brewer Greg Newton

The following announcement has been released by Sake Institute of Ontario:

On Monday, Oct 1st, the Sake Institute of Ontario (SIO) will be celebrating ‘Nihonshu no Hi’ (National Sake Day) – the start to the new brewing season in Japan – with an intimate, fun, and informative Sakebrewing Seminar & Tasting Event.
Please join us at: Yuzu no Hana Sushi & Sake Bar (236 Adelaide St. W.) 6:30pm-8:30pm
Three brewery representatives will be our guides into the ancient craft of sakebrewing.  Greg Newton, Head Brewer of Ontario Spring Water Sake Co., our local brewery in The Distillery, will present on the core elements of sakebrewing.  Also attending will be Kozaemon the 14th, CEO of Nakashima Sake Brewing Co. from Gifu, Japan, a family-owned brewery founded in 1702, and Mr. Fukui, Export Manager for Tamanohikari Sake Brewing Co. of Kyoto, Japan.  We will have sakes on hand to taste from Izumi, Kozaemon, and Tamanohikari, plus many other current releases from Ontario’s top sake importers.  Sushi + light catering will be provided by Yuzu no Hana.

Tickets are $35 until Sept 24th ($40 afterwards) and limited to 50 guests – get yours today before we sell out:–tasting/


**SIO is a not-for-profit trade organization of Ontario-based sake distributors and manufacturers with the principal objective of educating and promoting the responsible consumption and enjoyment of sake.

Fresh Izumi sake now for sale online!

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No time to drop by our brewery or an LCBO outlet?  No problem, Izumi sakes (including unpasteurized “namazake”) are now available online via the leaders in online wine shopping in Ontario, WINEONLINE.CA.

We have just added a quicklink to our homepage, and the direct link to the Izumi Sake page at WINEONLINE.CA is as follows:

Happy online shopping!


Izumi Genshu now on sale at LCBO!

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Our smooth, deep-flavoured Izumi Genshu, winner of a Commended Award at this summer’s International Wine Challenge in London, England, has started to appear on LCBO shelves as part of the August 18 Vintages release.  The Vintages release booklet, available at all LCBO stores, even has a write-up on our brewery as part of a mini-feature on sake!   The tasting notes issued by the Vintages Tasting Panel read as follows:

“There is a lovely fruitiness to this crystal-clear sake.  Aromas suggest pear and apple, plus a hint of apricot and even a touch of caramel.  There is lots of fruitiness on the palate too, but is also quite dry.  The finish is long and elegant” (Vintages panel, June 2012)

We will be supporting the launch with free public tastings of Izumi Genshu at LCBO Summerhill on Saturday, August 18, at LCBO Woodbine and Highway 7 on Sunday, August 19, and LCBO Dupont and Spadina on Sunday, August 26.  Izumi Namacho will also be available for free sampling, as well as our own Izumi Sesame and Wasabi sakekasu dressings together with seaweed-wrapped rice crackers.

The full list of stores which will have Genshu by August 18 is as follows:

Ancaster-Golf Links Rd
Markham – Hwy 7 &   Woodbine
Markham- McCowan &   Hwy 7
Mississauga-Hwy 10/Eglinton
Ottawa- Rideau &   King Edward
Ottawa-Hunt Club/Merrivale
Richmond Hill-Major   Mackenzie & Leslie
Richmond Hill- Yonge   & Hwy 7
Toronto Central-Bay   & Bloor (Manulife Centre)
Toronto Central-Dupont   & Spadina
Toronto Central-Front/Jarvis
Toronto Central-Front/Sherbourne
Toronto Central-King/Spadina
Toronto Central-Laird   & Eglinton (Leaside)
Toronto   Central-Liberty Village
Toronto Central-Queen   & Coxwell (The Beach)
Toronto Central-Queens   Quay & Yonge
Toronto   Central-Spadina & Dundas
Toronto Central-St Clair/Keele
Toronto Central-Yonge & Dundas (Atrium On Bay)
Toronto Central-Yonge   & Eglinton (Yonge Eglinton Ctr)
Toronto Central-Yonge   & Summerhill
Toronto   Etobicoke-Bloor & Royal York (Kingsway)
Toronto   Etobicoke-Burnhamthorpe & 427
Toronto Etobicoke-Sherway
Toronto North-Avenue   & Lawrence
Toronto North-Bayview   & Sheppard (Bayview Village)
Toronto North-Fairview Mall
Toronto North-Lawrence   & Don Mills
Toronto North-Wedgewood
Toronto North-Weston/401
Toronto North-Wilson/Dufferin
Toronto North-Yonge   & Empress (Empress Walk)
Toronto Scarborough-Danforth/VP
Toronto   Scarborough-Steeles & Markham
Waterloo-King S &   William


Current inventory levels of Genshu at LCBO stores is updated daily at:

Thank you for your ongoing support!


Fresh Sake Alert – Dry and delicious Brew #25 pressing today thru Saturday!

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This morning we started pressing Brew #25, a dry yet still fruity, relatively high alcohol batch (est. 18% alc/vol).  This fresh-pressed sake will be available at the tasting counter this afternoon and throughout the coming weekend.  Please join us for some sake (including our award-winning Genshu and recently re-released luscious Nigori) and perhaps some of our unique sakekasu ice cream (actually made with soy milk) in several Asian-style flavours.



Izumi-at-the-LCBO Update – Namacho now at 100 stores, and Genshu coming soon!

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Distribution of our fresh local sake within the LCBO system continues to grow.  This week we surpassed the 100-store mark for our Namacho Junmai Sake (LCBO Product #260174), with stores from Ottawa in the east to Windsor in the west, Sault Ste Marie in the north to Niagara Falls in the south.  You can check for a store near you at the following link:

Izumi Genshu Sake (LCBO Product #286120), our undiluted tank strength, full-flavoured sake will be included in the LCBO’s August 18 Vintages release.  Izumi Genshu is ideal as an apertif, or paired with a special dish such as oysters.  Ask your local LCBO store manager or Product Consultant to order some in to their store, or visit one of the larger regional stores, many of which will be receiving an allocation of Izumi Genshu.  Once the product has been shipped out to stores you can find Izumi Genshu at the LCBO via the following link:

Thank you for trying Izumi sake at the LCBO!


Izumi Genshu




Announcing Izumi Sake Line-up for Kampai Toronto Sake Festival May 31

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Ontario Spring Water Sake Company will be featuring 10 sakes at Kampai Toronto, which will take place on May 31, 2012 in the Fermenting Cellar, Distillery District, adjacent to our brewery.  While VIP tickets are long sold out, regular admission tickets can be purchased at for $65 until midnight tonight, and $75 after that up to May 31.

Included in our sake lineup for Kampai are two new items: IZUMI Junmai Nigori (a luscious cloudy sake), and IZUMI Karakuchi (a dryer sake than our other offerings) which are both being offered for the first time to the public.  The full line-up is as follows:

Izumi NamaCho Junmai Sake (once-pasteurized big flavour, pear-like fruit essence, off-dry, in LCBO)

Izumi Genshu Junmai Sake (undiluted, 17%abv, deep and long flavour, LCBO this summer)

Izumi NamaNama Unpasteurized Sake (our Signature unpasteurized sake, bold flavoured balance of residual fruity sugar and fresh acidity)

Izumi Teion Sakura Unpasteurized Sake (a low temperature ferment sake, wine-like with greeen apple fruit notes)

Izumi Karakuchi Unpasteurized Sake (dry, strong, with subtle fruit notes)

Izumi Junmai Nigori Sake (cloudy, luscious)

Izumi Second Spring Single-Tank Sake (very bold and delicious, our undiluted brew #18)

Izumi Arabashiri First-Press Sake (delicate, light and elegant)

Izumi Fukurotsuri Bag-Drip Sake (none-stress drip method sake is soft, smooth with fruity residual sugar)

Izumi Shiboritate Just-Pressed Sake (as fresh as sake can be, bold and youthful)

All of these sakes will also be available for sale at our brewery store, located in the Distillery District adjacent to the Fermenting Cellar where Kampai is taking place.  We are open before, during and after Kampai Torontoon May 31 – come check out a real sake brewery to see how sake is made!

We look forward to seeing friends old and new at Kampai Toronto!


Sake Brewing Update: Batches #21, 22, to be pressed by Kampai Toronto, #23 pressing around May 31

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With all the buzz surrounding the upcoming Kampai Toronto Festival of Sake, which will take place adjacent to our brewery on May 31, we thought it would be good to update our customers on the brewing/pressing cycles leading up to the big day.

Batch #21 is now in day 8 of its brewing cycle and will likely be pressed around May 23-25, while Batch #22 is now in day 4 with a forecasted pressing date of May 27-29. That means that Kampai participants will very likely be able to enjoy at least 2 just-pressed sakes!

While it is difficult to get very precise in these matters, it is possible that Batch #23 will actually be undergoing pressing during Kampai, which would certainly be a fun part of the brewing process for participants to be able to see, and of course to taste! Batch #23 is also somewhat of a historical batch for us, as it marks the first time we have used the aromatic #9 yeast (all of our batches to date have used, and we will continue to use, yeast #7, which was first isolated by our consulting brewery Masumi in 1947). Stay tuned as we update the progress of this newest brew.

During Kampai, our brewery, tasting bar and retail store will be open before, during and after the festival. We will offer a special tasting tour schedule for May 31, adding to our regular 5pm tasting tour on that day.

Come celebrate our 1-Year Anniversary this Sunday April 29 – all sake by the glass 30% off!

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This Sunday Ontario Spring Water Sake Company will have been open to the public for a whole year – we hope you can help us to celebrate this milestone! We will be offering all sake-by-the-glass including hot sake carafes at 30% off, free
sweet non-alcoholic warm koji sake and a variety of baked sakekasu treats for the kids, and large 1.8 litre bottles of sake at 15% off our regular prices.

Thanks to the support of our customers and the dedication of our team members, our first year has seen thousands of guests enjoy IZUMI sake at our brewery, and many more at our client restaurant locations which now number above 50 and at home through purchases of our sake at the growing number of LCBO outlets that carry IZUMI. We have also taken part in many gourmet events around Toronto thanks to the interest of our hosts, and look forward to remaining engaged in the vibrant local food and beverage community here in Ontario.

We hope to see you Sunday!

Sake Institute of Ontario announces Kampai Toronto

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A very exciting event will take place adjacent to our brewery on May 31, 2012: Kampai Toronto, the largest sake tasting festival ever to be organized in Canada, featuring more than 100 sakes from Japan and North America, including of course our own IZUMI sakes!

Kampai Toronto is being put on by the Sake Institute of Ontario, a non-profit organization of which we are a founding member whose mission is to promote the safe and enjoyable consumption of sake. The event will also feature appetizer-style food from 6 excellent restaurants. Many breweries will send representatives including toji (master brewers) and owners to pour and discuss their sakes, so it should be a truly memorable event. Our brewery tasting bar and store will run extended hours on that day before,during and after the event, so that those who want to combine a visit to Kampai Toronto with a visit to a sake brewery can do so.

The Kampai Toronto press release is as follows:

Press Release

April 2, 2012

Sake Institute of Ontario announces inaugural Kampai Toronto Festival of Sake

ATTENTION WINE, FOOD, BUSINESS EDITORS: The Sake Institute of Ontario proudly

announces the launch of Kampai Toronto, the largest sake festival ever organized in Canada.

This inaugural tasting event will take place on Thursday, May 31st at The Distillery – Historic

District in downtown Toronto.

Full details of Kampai Toronto and ticket purchase facilities are available at

Principal details of Kampai Toronto are as follows:

Event Summary: Walk-Around format. Participants will have the opportunity to

taste more than 100 sakes, sourced from dozens of breweries

from Japan, Canada and the U.S. Appetizer-style food will be

made available to guests courtesy of six restaurant partners.

Event Date: Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Event Hours: 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Event Location: Fermenting Cellar Event Space

Distillery District

55 Mill Street

Toronto, ON M5A 3C4

Event Pricing: Online Advance Purchase $65 (until May 24); Regular $75

Members of the Trade & Press will be invited to a dedicated Trade Portion sponsored by Japan

External Trade Organization (JETRO) starting at 4:00pm on the Event Date, which will feature a

one-hour Educational Seminar and Structured Tasting conducted by sake expert Michael

Tremblay of Ki Restaurant, in addition to a Walk-Around Tasting with many sake brewery

owners/representatives present.

Further Inquiries can be made via

About the Sake Institute of Ontario (“SIO”)

SIO is a not-for-profit trade organization of Ontario-based sake distributors and manufacturers

with the principal objective of educating and promoting the responsible consumption and

enjoyment of sake.

Dry, strong, clean and fresh-pressed – Brew #19 pressing now!

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What has turned out to be our driest, strongest, sake so far – Brew#19 – is now being pressed.  The first-run arabashiri is indeed characterized by the initially gentle, fruity undertones belying its 19 (a numerical coincidence!) percent alc./vol. strength, and medium dry, clear,  finish whose fruitiness is more subtle than most of our brews to date.  This sake’s body is still developing, and we will mature it in-tank prior to bottling a special edition dry sake that we are sure will appeal to many of our customers who enjoy dry sake but have never tried it in an unpasteurized, fresh, state. 

For those who can’t wait for the regular bottled version we are pouring the just-pressed arabashiri now at the tasting bar, and will have bottled #19 Arabashiri soon as well.



Jamie Kennedy featuring Izumi Sakes at next “Spirit of Local” event

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A group of Izumi Sakes will be featured at Jamie Kennedy’s “The Spirit of Local” event March 5, 2012, 6:30-9:00pm at Gilead Cafe and Bistro. 

The theme of the event is A Local Food Movement Cocktail Party.   Ontario Spring Water Sake Company’s Izumi-branded sakes will be sharing the spotlight with Still Waters Vodkas from a distillery in Concord, and Gilead Vodka from Prince Edward County.  This event is certain to be delicious, entertaining and educational!

Announcing Brewery Tasting Tour Schedule

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Ontario Spring Water Sake Company has recently started conducting regularly scheduled Tasting Tours at our Distillery District sake brewery.  Initially we are offering scheduled tours at 5pm Thursday evenings, and Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and 4pm. 

The tasting tours consist of an overview of the sake brewing process, raw materials and equipment, followed by a guided tasting of several of our freshly-brewed unpasteurized and pasteurized sakes.  The tasting tour takes about 1 hour, and is available at a cost of $15 (plus HST), which includes a souvenir IZUMI competitive sake tasting cup.

Spots on any tour can be pre-booked at 416-365-SAKE (7253), or may be arranged at the brewery prior to the scheduled tour time, subject to availability. 

Groups of 5 or more can also book a private tour at their convenience.

Hope to see you soon!


Fresh Sake Alert – Brew #17 now being pressed! Just-pressed sake available today at our tasting bar!

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This morning we have started to press Brew #17. We have just paused to taste the Arabashiri first run sake, and it is indeed delicious, a smooth, clean and fruity encore to Takahashi-toji, whose methods are now being applied by head brewer Greg Newton.  Those who brave Toronto’s winter weather to visit our brewery today through Monday can taste just-pressed Shiboritate sake at the tasting bar, sake at its freshest! 

We will bottle a very limited amount of the first-pressed Arabashiri version of Batch #17 for the growing number of customers that have become fans of this light but flavourful treat, which will be available only at our retail outlet in the Distillery District.




Converting Sake Lees into Wagyu Beef!

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Last week we made our first delivery of sake lees (“sakekasu”) to Brian Knox’s Wagyu Beef Farm in Formosa, Ontario.  Sakekasu is used by Kobe beef and other Wagyu farmers in Japan as a key part of their diet, as it enhances the animals’ appetite and thereby contributes to the marbling of the gourmet beef.  For sake breweries this use of their sakekasu reinforces sake brewing as an environmentally sustainable activity. 

After making the sakekasu delivery we used our refrigerated sake delivery van to transport some delicious Knox Wagyu to The Healthy Butcher, a premium meat purveyor in Toronto.  Mr. Knox started feeding his current herd sakekasu over the weekend, so sakekasu-fed Wagyu beef will finally be available to Ontario consumers later this year. 

We are looking forward to trying the sakekasu-fed meat when it becomes available, and will keep you posted about its availability.


Brew #17 Now Underway – First led by Greg Newton

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Earlier this week we began brewing our 17th batch during ideal sake-brewing weather.

This is our first batch led by Greg Newton.  Our founding/consulting master brewer Yoshiko Takahashi recently returned to Japan, having fulfilled her mission of getting us started on the road to brewing delicious sake, and will continue to be our technical consultant on issues as they arise along our brewing journey.  The brewing routines started by Takahashi-toji are being continued by Greg-san, who worked in our brewery together with Takahashi-toji as her disciple for the last several months and who used to work at the same brewery in Nagano (Tomono Shuzo) where Takahashi-san was formerly master brewer.  Greg is a microbioligist by training (graduate of University of Guelph, post-graduate researcher at University of Tokyo) who is passionate about sake, which he began seriously studying in 2008 through a training internship at Daimon Shuzo, an international-minded brewery in Osaka whose 6th-generation owner Yasutaka Daimon has embraced the potential of sake markets and production outside of Japan.

We look forward to tasting this batch next month.  In the meantime, we have started to blend sakes using the excellent cold weather-brewed 14th, 15th and 16th batches which were pressed in December.  These are all full-flavoured, and in the cases of #14 and #15, high-alcohol sakes, which are delicious both on their own as well as in blends such as the current rendition of Genshu in which #14 is prominent.  Please drop by the brewery for a visit, or sign up for a Brewery Tasting Tour if you have an hour to spend learning a bit about the methods and flavours of the sake world!





Izumi Namacho now available in 70 LCBO Stores – Great as a holiday gift or stocking stuffer!

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After launching in a limited number of LCBO stores in a Vintages release in September, Izumi Namacho Junmai Sake is now offered on a continuously available basis at 70 LCBO locations as of today, with more stores receiving shipments soon.  The following link provides updated store locations:

In most LCBO stores our sake can be found together with all the other sakes adjacent to the fortified wines section, however several stores merchandise our sake in the Vintages department.  If you do not find it please ask an LCBO staff member for Product #260174. 

For a full range of our sakes, as well as holiday gift baskets and other interesting sake-related items please visit our brewery store in Toronto’s Distillery District.

Best Holiday Wishes!


Fresh Sake Alert! Batch #15 is now being pressed- click here for tasting notes and more brewery info.

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We are currently (Dec. 16) pressing Batch #15, which is available for tasting at the bar. This batch has turned out great and is quite distinct from the sakes we have made thus far. It is initially soft on the palate, has fruity notes with underlying sweetness, and has a quick, strong, dry finish.

If you have time this weekend, please stop by the brewery for a taste of this fresh sake. The Distillery District Christmas Market is in full swing, and we also have a full assortment of sake gift packs for that sake lover (or soon to be) you know, ready for under the tree.

Happy Holidays!

100% Natural Soap made with our own Sake Kasu Now Available at the Brewery Store!

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Our new all-natural sake kasu soap is now in stock at the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company’s brewery store, located in Toronto’s Distillery District. 

Unscented other than with the beautiful natural aroma of sake kasu, the soap also contains  olive oil, palm oil and coconut oil.  Sake Kasu contains high levels of Vitamin B6, which protects skin and relieves muscle and arthritis pain, and folic acid, which promotes cell division and repair, leading to healthy skin.  This wonderful new item has been handcrafted for us by the local skincare experts at  Pura Vida Spa…ahh.

4-ounce bars of Sake Kasu Soap are now available at a special price of $6 per bar, and are great for home use, as part of a sake gift basket or as a stocking stuffer this holiday season!


Bottles of Shiboritate (Freshly Pressed) Batches #11, 12 & 13 available for a limited time.

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Batches #11, 12 & 13 have been pressed in the last week, and each one has its own distinct character. For those who would like to experience freshly pressed, unpasteurized sake, we are offering each batch in 300 mL bottles for a limited time (until Nov. 20th). These 3 sakes are also available to sample as a tasting flight, beginning today!

Hope to see you at the brewery.

Batch #13 “Fukuro-tsuri” now being “drip” pressed and ready for tasting– see photo!

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Today (Nov. 10), we started pressing batch #13, using both the “fune” press and the bag-hanging (“fukuro-tsuri”) method.

Batch #13 is a slightly dry, higher alcohol sake with lots of body and flavour. We are now serving ‘shiboritate” (just-pressed sake) and “fukuro-tsuri” at the brewery- a rare treat, indeed.

We also have lots of space at tonight’s Sip & Learn event (6-7pm), where we will be tasting and comparing Arabashiri, Shiboritate, and Fukuro-tsuri of batch #13, and Fukuro-tsuri of batch #5. If you are interested in joining us for this unique tasting experience, please come down to the brewery for 6pm (no need to reserve).

Now Pressing Batch #12- Ready for tasting at this Thursday’s Sip and Learn

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We just started pressing batch #12 today, and it has turned out great- a soft, delicate sake that is ready to drink now! We are now serving batch #12 at the tasting bar, and it will also be ready for this Thursday’s (Nov. 10) Sip & Learn event (6-7 pm).

We will also start pressing batch #13 on Thursday. This should be a full-bodied sake with a bit higher alcohol- great for tasting fresh out of the press!  

If you would like to experience the freshest sake in Eastern Canada, please come down to the brewery. We also have spaces available for this Thursday’s Sip & Learn, where we will be tasting batchs #12 and #13, and ‘fukuro-tsuri”, sake pressed drop by drop in hanging bags- a very delicate (and rare) type of sake.

If you would like to join this Thursday’s event, please phone us at 416-365-7253.

Announcing topics for our weekly Sake Sip & Learn events thru December 15

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Please note the topics for upcoming Sake Sip & Learn events scheduled on Thursday evenings 6-7pm: 

November 3     Pressing, Shiboritate and Kasu I

(N.B. Our  Nov. 3 event is now sold out)

November 10     Pressing, Shiboritate and Kasu II (a supplement to I as we continue to press)

November 17     Koji – The Heart of Sake Brewing

November 24     Reading Sake Labels and Understanding Sake Types  

December 1        Basics of Brewing II (not a complete repeat of Oct.27 but some commonality)

December 8        Meet our Toji (i.e. Master Brewer Yoshiko Takahashi, who will discuss her experiences in becoming and functioning as a master brewer in Japan.  In Japanese with translation into English.)

December 15      Principles of Sake Tasting

The cost of each event is $15 (plus HST) per person and will include sake tasting and a souvenir Izumi competitive tasting cup.   Booking spots for all events can be done by calling 416-365-SAKE (7253) or emailing

Freshest sake alert: Pressing has started this morning for Batch #11 – Batches 12 & 13 to follow over next few days!

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This morning we started to press Batch #11, which from initial tasting is another fresh, deep and lively brew!  Shiboritate just-pressed sake now available at the tasting bar.  As this was the first batch to be pressed following Takahashi-sensei’s vacation we chose to refresh the offering for the sake Gods at our brewery’s shrine to mark the changing of the season.  Please drop by for a taste too!

October 27 Sip & Learn sold out – Registration for November 3 Sip & Learn now open!

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Thank you to all who registered for tomorrow’s inaugural public Sake Sip & Learn event – we hope you will find it both informative and delicious!

Next Thursday November 3 we will hold our next Sip & Learn event, focusing on Sake Pressing and Sake Kasu.  Please register by following the instructions below.  We will feature a different group of sakes than the previous event, and will certainly feature some “shiboritate” fresh-pressed sake, something which can only be enjoyed directly at a brewery!

The cost to participants will be $15 (plus HST), which includes a souvenir “IZUMI”-branded competitive sake tasting cup!

Please call 416-365-SAKE (7253) or email us at to register.  Space is limited so please register early to avoid disappointment!

First weekly “Sake Sip & Learn” Event next Thursday Oct 27 6pm

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Ontario Spring Water Sake Company is very pleased to announce that we will be holding our first public “Sake Sip & Learn” event on Thursday, October 27, 6pm, at our brewery located in the Distillery District, 55 Mill Street, Building 4, Toronto M5A 3C4. 

At this first weekly event we will cover the basics of sake, and provide an overview of the brewing process.  The informational part of the event will be followed by a tasting of several sakes.  Each week’s event will feature a different main topic, and a different group of tasting sakes.

The cost to participants will be $15 (plus HST), which includes a souvenir “IZUMI”-branded competitive sake tasting cup!

Please call 416-365-SAKE (7253) or email us at to register.  Space is limited so please register early to avoid disappointment!

Brews 11-13 now underway – Tomorrow through next Sunday (Oct 16) will be the best days to view batch production

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     Now that our master brewer Takahashi-sensei has returned from vacation in Japan we are back in full production mode.  During the current production cycle we are preparing Brews 11 through 13. 

     The first and most intensive phase of production includes preparation of the 3-stage additions of rice and koji for each brew.  If you are interested in watching sake being made, the best days to come down to the brewery are this Sunday (i.e. tomorrow) thru next Sunday.  Please come early to catch the most action!

     While here why not taste some of the 9 sakes we currently have on offer, from our signature unpasteurized Nama-Nama to one of our special editions, including 3 free-run “Arabashiri” sakes.  If the day you visit us is cold, we can heat you from the inside with some of our special Warm October Blend.

     Hope to see you soon!

Nuit Blanche Specials – Warm October Blend and Arabashiri (free run) Sake Flights

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Nuit Blanche is almost upon us and the Distillery District will be one of this Saturday night’s hottest spots!  To celebrate we will be offering two very special items:

1.  Our special “Warm October Blend”, a gently heated, delicious sake created especially to warm you from the inside out!  The weatherman may be forecasting a cool weekend but a caraffe of our warm stuff ($10/small caraffe) will keep you feeling toasty!

2.  For those who love the fruity and smooth Arabashiri free run sakes we have a wonderful treat – a special Nuit Blanche flight featuring three of them!  Enjoy the arabashiri versions of each of Lucky Seven, Amakuchi#9 and Crazy Horse, all for the special price of $10!

Please enjoy the festivities, stay warm & safe, and hope to see you here!

North 44, Nota Bene now offering Izumi sakes

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We thought you may be interested in hearing from time-to-time which restaurants are offering our sakes.

Our customers at our Distillery District brewery, retail store and tasting bar will not be surpised that top Japanese restaurants in the GTA such as Guu, Ki and Kaiseki Sakura are now offering our sakes – this is a great source of pride for us.  We have, however, also been fortunate to have as clients many famous non-Japanese restaurants such as Canoe, who has for their third consecutive cycle put one of our sakes into their wine pairings menu.

This week we are delighted to add venerable Toronto restaurants North 44 and Nota Bene to our list of restaurant customers.  We are certain that you will also be delighted with the foods that they will pair with our fresh, unpasteurized sakes!

The following restaurants are currently offering our products – please visit them to enjoy how are sakes are complementing their delicious cuisine!  (n.b. some other restaurants may be offering IZUMI sakes as they are now available for licensee purchase at LCBO stores)   

Akasaka, 280 West Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill, 905-764-9291

Aoyama, 2766 Victoria Park, Toronto, 416-494-7373

Boiler House, 55 Mill Street, Toronto, 416-361-5859

Canoe, 66 Wellington West, Toronto, 416-364-0054

Fairmont Royal York Hotel, 100 Front Street West, 416-368-2511

Fin Izakaya, 55 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto, 647-347-3864 

Fishbar, 217 Ossington, Toronto, 416-532-0307

Ginko, 655 Dixon Road, Toronto, 416-248-8445

Gojima, 3345 Bloor West, Toronto, 416-231-7963

Guu Izakaya, 398 Church Street, Toronto, 416-977-0999

Guu Sakabar, 559 Bloor West, Toronto, 647-343-1101

Inatei, 9021 Leslie, Richmond Hill, 905-881-9500

Kaiseki Sakura, 556 Church Street, Toronto, 416-923-1010

Ki, 181 Bay Street, Toronto, 416-308-5888

Kobo Gourmet, 512 Kingston Road, Pickering, 905-839-4824

Koyoi, 2 Irwin Avenue, Toronto, 647-351-5128

Makisushi/Shinobu, 3403 Yonge Street, Toronto, 416-830-0741

Marche Movenpick, 42 Yonge Street, Toronto, 416-366-8986

Miyabi, 280 West Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill, 905-709-2915

Mye, 143 Church Street, Oakville, 905-849-8989

Nami, 55 Adelaide East, Toronto, 416-362-7373

North 44, 2537 Yonge, Toronto, 416-487-4897

Nota Bene, 180 Queen West, Toronto, 416-977-6400

OC’s at Stoneboats Restaurant, 49 Bronte Road, Oakville, 905-330-5442

Pure Spirits, 55 Mill Street, Toronto, 416-361-5859

Starfish, 100 Adelaide East, Toronto, 416-366-7827

Wabora, 550 Wellington West, Toronto, 416-777-9901

Yuzu, 236 Adelaide West, Toronto, 416-205-9808

We thank our restaurant clients for their support, and hope our growing number of Distillery District store and LCBO retail customers will enjoy dining at many of the fine establishments listed above.


We Now Deliver – Our refrigerated van brings you unpasteurized sake at its peak!

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Ontario Spring Water Sake Company is happy to announce that we are now able to make refrigerated delivery of all of our products to residential customers.  We are offering FREE DELIVERY FOR ALL ORDERS OVER $100 within Toronto. 

Delivery can normally be made 1-3 business days after placing an order, at a time to be agreed with the the customer.  A person 19 years of age or older must personally receive all deliveries. 

We accept orders by telephone at 416-365-SAKE (7253) 7 days per week, 11am-7pm Monday-Saturday and 12 noon-6pm Sunday.  Customers can pay via VISA or Mastercard at time of order placement. 

Our offerings include the following  (ALL PRICES INCLUDE 13% HST AND BOTTLE DEPOSIT):

 IZUMI “Nama-Nama”(300ml)                              $12.95   (all 300ml bottles available individually and in cases of 12) 

IZUMI “Nama-Nama”(1800ml)                             $64.95  (all 1800ml bottles available individually and in cases of 6)

                Our signature unpasteurized sake.  A balance between fresh acidity and fruity residual sugar.  Keep refrigerated to maintain this sake’s fresh and bold flavours until time of serving.  15% ALC./VOL.

IZUMI “Nama-Cho” (300ml)                                  $12.95

IZUMI “Nama-Cho” (1800ml)                                $64.95

               The same sake as Nama-Nama, however pasteurized in-bottle only (most commercially available sake is pasteurized twice, first via coil post-production, then in bottle pre-shipment), allowing it to maintain its wonderful flavour through storage at room temperature.  15% ALC./VOL.

 IZUMI “Genshu Nama-Nama” (300ml)            $14.95

IZUMI “Genshu Nama-Nama” (1800ml)           $74.95

                Sake at its original tank strength, usually 16-20%.  Excellent served either cool or at room temperature, or even over rocks as an aperitif. 

IZUMI “Teion Sakura” (300ml)                             $14.95         

IZUMI “Teion Sakura” (1800ml)                          $74.95            

                LIMITED SUPPLY REMAINING:  Teion Sakura was specially made at low temperature using a very high koji-to-rice ratio.  The resulting sake has acidity reminiscent of a great white wine and great flavour complexity.

Also Available:

Sake Kasu ($4/250g), Sake Kasu Miso Soup ($5/180 ml-12 bowl equiv), Sake Kasu Dressings (Sesame and Wasabi, $5/284ml bottle)   


Thank you for your interest in Ontario Spring Water Sake Company!

416-365-SAKE (7253)


IZUMI Namacho now available at the LCBO!

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The LCBO started stocking IZUMI Namacho Junmai Sake (#260174  300ml $12.95) on their shelves a couple of days ago.  Namacho is a once-only pasteurized version of our signature Nama-Nama unpasteurized sake, which retains its fresh flavour while displayed at room temperature (most sake currently available in Ontario is pasteurized twice, in part to survive the long and sometimes-harsh sea journey from Japan).  Namacho is a delightful balance of fresh acidity with fruity sugar, and is wonderful on its own or paired with your favourite fish, meat or cheese dishes.

The first roll-out to LCBO stores is expected to be completed this week, and will include deliveries to the following 33 locations:

Markham – Hwy 7 & Woodbine

Markham – Hwy 7 & McCowan

Mississauga – 5100 Erin Mills Parkway

Mississauga – Meadowvale Town Centre

Mississauga – Dundas & Mavis

Mississauga – Hwy 10 & Eglinton

Mississauga – Mavis & Britannia (Heartland)

Ottawa – Bank & Walkley

Ottawa – Rideau & King Edward

Richmond Hill – Major MacKenzie & Leslie

Richmond Hill – Yonge & Hwy 7

Thornhill – Bathurst & Centre (The Promenade)

Toronto Central -85 Hanna (Liberty Village)

Toronto Central – Brock & Queen

Toronto Central – Dupont & Spadina

Toronto Central – Gerrard & Pape

Toronto Central – Laird & Eglinton

Toronto Central – Queens Quay & Yonge

Toronto Central – Yonge & Eglinton (YE Centre)

Toronto Central – Yonge & Summerhill

Toronto North York – Avenue & Lawrence

Toronto North York – Bayview & Sheppard (Bayview Village)

Toronto North York – Don Mills & Sheppard (Fairview) 

Toronto Central – Lawrence & Don Mills

Toronto North York – Weston & Hwy 401 (Crossroads)

Toronto North York – Wilson & Dufferin

Toronto North York – Yonge & Empress (Empress Walk)

Toronto North York – Yonge & Wedgewood

Toronto Scarborough – Kennedy & Sheppard (Agincourt Mall)

Toronto Scarborough – McCowan & Finch (Woodside Square)

Toronto Scarborough – Steeles & Markham

Toronto Scarborough – Victoria Park & Finch

In most stores Namacho will be displayed in the main section of the store together with other sakes, adjacent to the fortified wines in most store layouts.  Some stores may carry Namacho in the Vintages section.  You can get updated information on availability of Namacho at the LCBO using their excellent website, searching either by “Izumi” or “260174”.

Thank you for your interest and support of  Izumi, Ontario’s own local sake!

Pressing Batch#10 Crazy Horse today and Saturday – maybe our best yet!

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Our Yurina-san taming the Crazy Horse

Weeks ago our master brewer started calling this batch “ja-ja uma”, or Crazy Horse, for its uncontrollable character.  Those who have been following us batch by batch may have noticed that #10 is actually being pressed prior to Batch #9 – Crazy Horse has been that sort of batch! 

Despite its wild nature, the batch tastes suberb – while keeping with Izumi’s general pattern of fresh acidity balanced by fruity sugar, this one has a specially deep and lingering flavour. 

For this batch we have for the first time put out the elegent “Nakadori”, or middle-pressed sake, into the tasting bar offering together with some super-smooth “Fukuro-tsuri” bag-dripped sake.  After tasting these special by-the-glass offerings we believe you will agree that this Crazy Horse actually got tamed in the end!

Pressing sake today thru Sunday. Shiboritate at bar, Black Sesame ice cream too!

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We are pressing Batch #8 today, which we expect will be a nice balance of fruit, acidity and sugar.  “Shiboritate” fresh-pressed sake will be available at the tasting bar all weekend.

This week we have also added black sesame “Korogoma” ice cream to our line-up of popular soya milk frozen desserts.  It may be the most delicious one yet!

Hope to see you at the Distillery.

Sake-making can be viewed today thru Monday early each day

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Many of our customers have expressed interest in observing the “busy” part of sake-making.  As the active production stage of our Batches 8, 9 and 10 are now drawing to a close, those with an interest to observe sake-making may wish to visit our brewery in the Distillery District as close as possible to opening time today thru Mondya (11am today and Monday, 12 noon on Sunday).  Of course you can enjoy a glass of sake while you watch the action!

“Lucky 7” is now being pressed and served at the brewery

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Our seventh brew, which we have affectionately named “Lucky 7”, is being pressed today, with a limited quantity of “shiboritate” just-pressed sake from Lucky 7  available for tasting by the glass in the brewery this weekend.   Following on the distinctive “karakuchi” dry Brew #6 which was created with seasoned karakuchi fans in mind, Lucky 7 marks a return to the fresh spring-like blast of flavour with residual sweetness which characterized many of our earlier brews.

Ontario Spring Water Sake Company Retail Opening April 29, 2011

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Toronto’s first Sake Brewery to open this weekend

Ontario Spring Water SakeThe Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, located in downtown Toronto’s Distillery Historic District, will be opening its brewery, retail store and tasting bar to the public on Friday April 29, 2011.  This brewery is a first for Toronto, and indeed for all of eastern North America.

“Our sake’s fresh and delightful flavour is enhanced by using a very special spring water chosen among the abundant water resources of northern Ontario” says Kaz Hayashi, General Manager of the company and formerly a key member of the team responsible for Ontario distribution of Gekkeikan, a major Japanese sake brand, while working at a large Toronto wine agency.  “All of our sake is hand-prepared in the “Junmai” pure rice style in several varieties, including unpasteurized “Nama-Nama”, for sale at the Distillery location brewery store and tasting counter” he continues.

The brewery commenced operations in February 2011 with advisory assistance from the venerable Miyasaka Brewing Co., Ltd., whose operations in Japan date back to the 1600’s, currently producing sake under the MASUMI and MIYASAKA brands.  It was via Miyasaka’s team that the new brewery was able to connect with consulting master sake brewer Yoshiko Takahashi, an award winning brewmaster from the Nagano region of Japan, who arrived in Toronto several months ago to support the start-up.

The commencement of retail operations this weekend will be followed shortly by a delivery service to a select group of local restaurants, as well as listing applications at the LCBO for one or more of its products.

A unique offering at the brewery’s retail store is its freshly pressed, unpasteurized and unfiltered sake, an exquisite beverage which is currently not available anywhere in Ontario or the eastern seaboard, making the new brewery in the Distillery a fascinating and delicious experience for sake, food and fine wine lovers alike.  Other unique items available in the dramatic high stone-walled retail area of the brewery will include a variety of sake serving accessories and decorative items imported from Japan.  Many available items will be labeled with the “IZUMI” brand (which means “spring water” in Japanese) which is the principal brand name used by the Company for its sake beverages.

Ontario Spring Water Sake Company is a member of the Brewing Society of Japan, and the first member of the Society located in Canada.

More information on the company can be found on the company’s website:

For further information please contact Kazuto Hayashi or Ken Valvur at 416-365-SAKE (7253) or


OSWSC Key Personnel:

Kazuto Hayashi, General Manager, grew up in Wakayama, Japan before coming to Canada to attend the University of Lethbridge to earn an undergraduate degree.  Immediately prior to  joining OSWSC in 2010, for several years Kaz had the principal responsibility of working with restaurant licensees and LCBO staff to support the Ontario business of Japan’s largest sake brewer, Gekkeikan, while working for a large Canadian wine agency.  Kaz has received sake brewery operations training at the Nagano, Japan brewery of OSWSC’s advisor Miyasaka Brewing Co., Ltd., as well as previous training at Gekkeikan’s brewery in Kyoto, Japan.


Yoshiko Takahashi, Consulting Master Brewer at OSWSC and President of Japan’s Sake and Local Cuisine Project, is from Nagano, Japan.  Ms. Takahashi is a well-known master brewer with over 20 years’ sake-making experience, principally with Tsuchiya Shuzo in Nagano, where her sakes have included a brew which won an Award of Excellence at the Kanto-Shinetsu tasting competition for the National Sake Award in 2005.  She is a member of the Saku Toji Kai guild of sake master brewers, and is a graduate of the Advanced Sake Brew Master Training program of the Brewing Society of Japan.  As a female master brewer within a traditionally male-dominated industry, Ms. Takahashi is already considered to be a pioneer, well-suited to the challenge of supporting a brand new brewery in eastern North America.

Ken Valvur, President, developed his love for sake while spending several years in Japan working for Canadian financial services provider Scotia Capital after attending Japan’s Institute of International Studies and Training. Prior to founding OSWSC in 2010, Ken started Canada’s largest sushi company, Bento Nouveau, where he was CEO until early 2009.  Ken became familiar with the sake industry when he met the owners of Miyasaka Brewing Co., Ltd. while in Japan at a food industry show and agreed to represent them in Canada, leading to the successful listing of MASUMI sakes at the LCBO in 2006.