Japan Brewery Debuts 'Space Sake' With Yeast Aged in Orbit
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Sake Made With Yeast Cultured in Space To Benefit Japanese Earthquake Recovery

Space Sake

Japanese brewery Ninki Ichi is launching three types of “space sake” made with yeast that was rocketed into orbit. (Photo: Ninki Ichi)

A brewery in Japan is launching three “space sakes” made with yeast that spent a month in outer space.

Last June, Ninki Ichi Brewery rocketed its yeast from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida into outer space. It arrived at the International Space Station, which sent it into orbit for one month. Once it returned to earth, Ninki Ichi used it to craft a special sake.

The brewery hopes to use sales of the sake to help in the recovery of the Fukushima Prefecture in the Tohoku region, where Ninki Ichi is made. The prefecture suffered a devastating magnitude-nine earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011 and still is recovering.

The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami annihilated more than 100,000 buildings and triggered a level-7 nuclear meltdown when the tsunami caused a cooling system failure at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, releasing radioactive materials.

The direct financial damage caused by the disaster is estimated to be about $199 billion, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in history.

“If you can drink this space sake and support the recovery, it will be a great encouragement for us, the people of Tohuku,” a spokesperson for Ninki Ichi said, according to The Drinks Business. “Since Fukushima has many companies that produce sake, we decided to send the yeast to space for making sake. The finished product is made with great care and competition”

The three types of “space sake” — Sparkling Junmai Ginjo, Junmai Ginjo and Ultraman Foundation — are on sale at Ninki Ichi’s website. Each release is limited to 3,000 bottles.

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