Sparkling sake brewery launches in Ely

Naoki Toyota is the UK managing director of The Sparkling Sake Brewery, which has launched in Ely

Naoki Toyota (RIGHT) is the UK managing director of The Sparkling Sake Brewery, which has launched in Ely. - Credit: CAPCA

Naoki Toyota believes the mystical quality of Ely’s water can help him to produce 5,000 litres in his first year of a sparkling variety of sake, the famous Japanese rice wine.  

Mr Toyota, who trained at Fordham Abbey sake brewery, is managing director of The Sparkling Sake Brewery that has opened in the city. 

His Japanese investors believe it is the first brewery of its kind in the world dedicated exclusively to the production of sparkling sake.  

The first batch of its first official brewing season ‘awa’ was released on October 19. 

The ambition is to establish sparkling sake more widely in the UK market where Ely will operate as the European HQ of a company whose global HQ is in Saitama, Japan.  

By 2023 the Ely brewery aims to support five jobs. 

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has backed the brewery through its Growth Works service which supports “the set up and growth of innovative companies”. 

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Mr Toyota said the pandemic was having an impact on global supply chains. 

“The economy and consumer behaviour has made it incredibly challenging for me to forecast our turnover with confidence,” he said. 

“The goal is to produce 5,000 litres in year one, growing the volume by 20 per cent over the next 3-5 years.  

“The number of jobs we could forecast creating is very much linked to the pace at which we can confidently increase our volume by meaningful percentages.” 

Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “It is easy to say that we are ‘open for business’ but what is important is the actions we take to continue to attract potential investors domestically and globally.” 

He said Growth Works played an important role in working with those investors and businesses to set up and grow in our region. 

Sake is 80 per cent water and Ely’s water has plenty of mineral content which is seen as perfect for creating delicate bubbles as well as an elegant still sake which is the base before the second fermentation.  

The second fermentation creates sparkling sake’s bubbles by the interaction between the rice, microorganisms and the water.  

Ely’s water is also low in iron and manganese which are two elements detrimental to sake.