Itami has long been a center of sake brewing. Today, there are two brewery companies based in the city: ‘Shirayuki’ and ‘Itami Oimatsu’.
Having been established in 1550, Konishi Brewing Company has over 460 years of history, and is the oldest brewery in Japan continually run by the same family. Their flagship brand Shirayuki (‘White Snow’) is said to have been so named after the second generation heir saw a snowy Mt. Fuji whilst on route to Edo by sea with a shipment of sake. The company has a number of other products inspired by the iconic Mt. Fuji. Today the company is also involved in craft beer brewing and handling Belgian imports.
Itami Oimatsu was founded in 1688. In 1697, 24 of the largest sake producers in Itami became official suppliers to the shogunate, and their products were given the title gomenshu. The products of Itami Oimatsu Brewing Company (founded 1688) enjoyed a particularly high status and were served at the dinner table of the Shogun himself. Their products still bear a red gomenshu stamp.
Both firms have brewery shops in Itami city center, where visitors can taste and purchase products. Right next to the Oimatsu shop is a spring where visitors can collect and drink the water used in brewing Oimatsu’s products. Konishi Brewing Company’s Chojugura Brewery Village utilizes a rare example of an historical brewery building, and houses a shop, restaurant, brewing facilities, and museum.