The Birth of Saké


Theatrical Press - 2016

NY Times: In ‘The Birth of Sake,’ a Brew Made With Pride and Lots of Patience

"Mr. Shirai nicely shuffles in the back stories of several workers, and his shots of sky, sea and early morning landscapes could fit amid Hokusai woodcuts."

Film Journal
by David Noh

"Erik Shirai makes his directorial debut with this deliciously textured and rewarding doc about its actual creation and effect on not only those who imbibe it, but those who painstakingly craft it as well."

Tribeca Film Festival Premiere Press – 2015

by Hubert Vigilla

‘…Shirai captures both the beauty and the melancholy of the sake brewing process, and it’s fascinating that The Birth of Sake never feels forced in its various observations. That’s probably because the brewmasters have such fondness for what they create, and for the family that’s created because of it…’

by John DeFore
The Bottom line: “A lushly shot look at an endangered tradition”
‘…A stately tribute to doing things the old-fashioned way, The Birth of Sake takes us behind the scenes at one of the few breweries still making the famous Japanese spirit by hand instead of with industrial machines…’

by Mallika Rao
‘…Next time you sit down for an uncivilized bout of saké bombs, consider yet another reason you should be ashamed of yourself. As the trailer for Kickstarter-project-turned-arthouse-darling “The Birth of Saké” explains, making the ubiquitous Japanese rice wine is a high art, a 2,000-year-old process that can take six months to complete…’

by Eric Kohn
Memo to Distributors: Buy These 10 Tribeca Film Festival Movies
‘…No one who views “Birth of Sake” will ever see the beverage the same way again…’

by Justin Chang
‘… a richly immersive documentary that plays like an elegy for a time-honored but slowly vanishing way of life…’

by Steve Kopian
‘…The film is easily one of the most beautiful films at Tribeca…’