In a world where most mass produced goods are heavily automated, a small group of artisans must brave unusual working conditions to preserve a 2000 year-old tradition that we have come to know as saké. The Birth of Saké is a cinematic documentary that reveals the story of passionate saké-makers and what it takes to make world-class saké at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned, small brewery in northern Japan.
The workers at Yoshida Brewery are an eclectic cast of characters, ranging from 20 to 70 years old who must live and work for a six-month period through the brutal winter. As a vital part of this cast, charismatic veteran brew master Yamamoto (65) and the brewery’s sixth-generation heir, Yasuyuki Yoshida (27), are keepers of this tradition, and are the main characters who bring the narrative forward. As craftsmen who must dedicate their whole lives to the making of this world-class saké, their private sacrifices are often sizable and unseen.