The Culinary Institute of America, the world's premier culinary college, and Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd., maker of world-renowned DASSAI premium Junmai Daiginjo sake will partner to further the education and awareness of sake within the United States.
The CIA—with the support of Asahi—will be developing curriculum, certification programs, workshops, and special events and tastings. Asahi Shuzo will also build its first U.S. brewery in Hyde Park, NY, less than a mile from the CIA campus, becoming the first Japanese sake producer to set down stakes on the East Coast.
"The Asahi Shuzo Company is a leader in its field, carefully combining both tradition and cutting-edge technology to craft its premium quality beverage," says CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. "We are honored that they chose to build their first U.S. operation in the CIA's backyard, and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship."
Currently, the CIA offers a course in Advanced Cooking: Japanese Cuisine, which is the first step towards the planned creation of a full academic concentration in Japanese food, beverage, and culinary culture. With the introduction of unique education programs and experiences around sake, the CIA will further the education of Japanese cuisines and cultures for CIA students, food enthusiasts, food industry professionals, and guests.
"When looking for a site to build our first U.S. brewery, we knew we wanted to differentiate ourselves from other sake brewers," says Asahi Shuzo Chairman Hiroshi Sakurai. "The proximity to the CIA, located in the heart of the Hudson Valley, is an ideal fit. We are excited to cultivate this new relationship."
The CIA and Asahi Shuzo are also going to seek research and development opportunities to further identify ways in which sake and the by-product from the sake-making process can be used to expand food flavors and culinary techniques, along with the potential for new lines of sake-based products.
"We are excited to see how the creativity and ingenuity of the CIA will elevate the use of sake to create new flavors and taste profiles," says Asahi Shuzo President Kazuhiro Sakurai.
The brewery—located at the corner of Route 9 and St. Andrew's Road—is to begin construction in spring 2018, with a scheduled opening in early 2019. It will be 52,500 square feet, including a retail space, and will be open for public tours. In addition to several company employees who will relocate from Japan to the Hudson Valley, the facility will create at least 32 new local jobs. At full capacity, the brewery will produce 332,000 gallons of sake a year. Asahi Shuzo says it is investing more than $28 million in the project.
"We are excited that Asahi Shuzo has selected Dutchess County for the location of its U.S.-based sake brewery. From fine foods, to craft beer, wines, and distilled spirits, Dutchess County has become a food and beverage destination," County Executive Marcus Molinaro says. "Now, CIA students and visitors alike will have firsthand access to a working sake brewery. The economic impact through this project, with the addition of new jobs and increased tourism, will not only benefit Hyde Park, but all the surrounding communities."
"New York's thriving craft beverage community is an engine for job creation, tourism, and regional economic growth," said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. "Asahi Shuzo's expansion into the Hudson Valley builds on New York's national and international leadership in this industry."
The CIA will be collaborating with Asahi Shuzo in the coming weeks and months to share site renderings and provide more details about the sake brewery with community and government leaders, residents, and the media.