blue_kudzu_2013Blue Kudzu Sake is set to open any day now in Asheville’s River Arts District. The sake brewery will be a first for Asheville, and for North Carolina, according to the Blue Kudzu crew, though it fits right in with the incredible craft beer  brewing scene and an up-and-coming hard cider scene.

This description from Blue Kudzu nicely sums up the brewery, which is at 372 Depot St. in the former location of the Magnetic Theatre.

Blue Kudzu Sake Co., set to be the fourth micro-sake brewery in the entire United States, is getting ready to set up shop right here in Asheville, North Carolina. This locally owned small business will focus on producing small batch, hand crafted, sake.

What is Sake? It is a fermented beverage consisting of water, rice, yeast and koji, a mold that converts rice starch into sugar. Sake is brewed like beer, but has a higher alcohol content more like wine, and is one of the most natural beverages on Earth.

What is Blue Kudzu? Blue Kudzu will be a manufacturer of bottled and draught organic craft sakes. Owners, Mary Taylor, and Cat Ford-Coates,long time bar and restaurant fixtures in the Asheville scene, and their newest partner Mr Preston Coleman will start their business as a small production craft brewery, with a tasting room and retail store-front. (Mitch Fortune is also helping.) Under the tutelage of Mountain Biz Works, these small business owners are ready to break ground launching a whole new brewing industry. The products they intend to offer will be local, gluten free, vegan, and kosher, as well as sulfite free and macrobiotic (for certain product lines.)

What else is there to know? The space includes a kitchen, brewery and tasting room. Blue Kudzu will honor the Japanese tradition of drink first, then eat. It features plenty of sitting room for lounging.  There’s an awesome mural on one wall, created by the owners. There’s other cool art by local photog Micah Mackenzie. There’s a 100-year-old seed counter that is now serving as a bar.

Sake is not distilled, it is the product of fermentation. Sake is not rice wine. Sake is traditionally served chilled. Blue Kudzu, which plans to bottle sake, will start with two styles: junmai ginjo and a junmai daiginjo, names that indicate how finely the rice used to make the sake is milled, as well as a dessert sake infused with hazelnuts.

There’s much more to know, but I suggest you just go and visit.

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