I am not going to drag this revelation out. I have a favorite bottle. While it sometimes changes depending on what new brews I am adding to the store, or what season it is, I have had a mad crush on the Imayo Koi bottle for a long while now. Yes, it is imperative to a have discerning opinion about what is actually inside the bottle, but I cannot pretend that I don't sometimes gravitate to a sake based on the aesthetics of the packaging.
When I saw this bottle I distinctly remember thinking "I need this brew to be good. I need this brew to not disappoint me." The bottle's design was too good and it made me want to learn more about the sake, the brewery, and the thinking behind the design of the bottle.
The Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery was established in Niigata in 1767. Fun fact, shared from the breweries website.
...there was a period of time when the local sake makers added a lot of water to the sake they brewed to increase production. The weak flavor gave it a bad reputation, and the nickname "goldfish sake" because it was said to be so diluted a fish could survive in it. However, Imayo Tsukasa didn't dilute its sake, so for a time, we were considered the representative Niigata sake among shop owners as a product they could be proud to sell.
The Niigata prefecture has the distinction of having the most breweries. So what makes the Imayo Tsukasa Brewery unique from all the others? As previously mentioned it clearly has long demonstrated a commitment to quality and tradition. No goldfish sake 200+ years ago, no goldfish sake now. Today the brewery is one of the few to use the original way of producing alcohol using cedar and bamboo tanks.