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:  www.ontariosake.com.

For further information please contact Kazuto Hayashi or Ken Valvur at 416-365-SAKE (7253) or info@ontariosake.com.


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.