Takara has great experience in producing Shochu , Mirin and Sake for more than one-and-a-half centuries. Because Takara’s main business endeavors depend heavily on the mastery of natural processes such as fermentation, the Company feels a strong responsibility toward preserving the natural environment. As a self-proclaimed “Harmonist,” Takara engages in activities aimed at educating people about the importance of sustainable coexistence with nature. Its work in this area is embodied in Takara’s corporate philosophy: “Contributing to the creation of a vital society and a healthy lifestyle for its members through our fermentation technology and biotechnology in a way that achieves harmony with nature.”
In its earliest inception, the Takara Group was founded in 1842, toward the end of the Edo period, by the Yomo family in Kyoto’s Fushimi district. After initially brewing only sake, by 1864, just before the Meiji Restoration, they subsequently also made shochu, mirin, and shirozake. In 1905, Yomo GMK, the general partnership that preceded Takara Shozo Co., Ltd. was established under the leadership of Usaburo Yomo, who made mirin the company’s leading prodcut and extended its sales netweork from the locak Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe. etc.,) region and to the Kanto region, which is centered on Tokyo. Yomo GMK’s success at this time resulted in Usaburo being feted as the “King of Kansai Mirin.” In 1916 Yomo began sales of its own brand of Takara Shochu.
In 1925, Yomo GMK reorganized itself in hopes of even greater success and was reincorporated as Takara Shuzo Co., Ltd. Having been appointed as Takara Shuzo’s first president, Usaburo Yomo worked together with Kurakichi Ohmiya. They worked proactively to acquire Teikoku Shuzo KK and other brewers through mergers. Working hand in hand, these two men extended sales of Takara-brand shochu and mirin products across all of Japan, thereby creating the foundation of today’s Takara Group.
By 1949, shochu was the top-selling alcoholic beverage, accounting for 28% of all sales of alcohol. Takara Shuzo was enjoying brisk growth in sales volumes. During the 1950s Takara Shochu became one of Japan’s best-selling brands, bringing the company great prosperity. Kurakichi was dubbed the “father of the recovery.”
In the 1950s many Japanese corporations entered major US cities in large numbers. Demand for Japanese food in the US emerged wherever Japanese expatriates settled in the US for work. In 1951, almost 30 years before establishing Takara Sake USA Inc., Takara Shuzo commenced the export of “Sho Chiku Bai” brands, starting with California. In the 60s, “Benihana” – Teppanyaki restaurant opened its door in New York catering to Americans. In the 70s, sushi specialty restaurants debuted in L.A. and New York, bringing the advent of the sushi boom.
In 1983, Takara Sake USA Inc. was founded in Berkeley, California. After extensive research in resources and logistics, Takara decided that Calrose, a unique Japanese hybrid variety, was the best choice for a newly established operation in Berkeley. Combined with Calrose, quality water sourced from the Sierra Nevada mountain range and a Mediterranean climate, Takara Sake USA Inc. showed steady growth in production and popularity.
In 1990, Takara Sake USA became America’s Largest Sake producer. In 1992, the first American-made ginjo sake, “Sho Chiju Bai Premium Ginjo”was released. Marking a new era for Takara in the US market.
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