Kito Crane Helps Brewery Create New Sake Culture
Umenoyado Brewery will celebrate its 130th anniversary in 2023. Last summer it built a new facility in the city of Katsuragi in Nara Prefecture, where a Kito light crane and hoists support efficient brewing on the sake production line. We enjoyed a tour of the operation.
Washing and soaking the rice is the essential starting process for sake brewing. The brewers explained their need to control water volume and soaking time depending on the rice variety, ambient temperature and humidity. In their work they manage time by the second. When the rice is ready to move to the next process, steaming, it is quickly lifted using chain hoists and drained.
We see the steam rising to the ceiling. The Kito hoists, made to food-industry specs, are reliably rust-resistant and lubricated with an oil that’s safe even if accidentally mixed with food, supporting safety in brewing operations.
Next, the steamed rice and koji (fermentation starter) are fed into the brew tanks. In the old building, which was not engineered to support a crane, brewers had to divide 200 kilograms of sake ingredients into ten-kilogram units that each took three people to carry, taking half an hour of work time for each load. The crane in the new brewery substantially improves the efficiency of the brewing process, with loading time reduced to less than ten minutes for just one worker.