Joining San Diego's growing roster of artisanal alcohol producers is a new sake brewery, which follows San Marcos' Kuracali in the craft of locally-brewed rice wine. Beer industry veterans Josh Hembree (Stone, Black Market) and Keldon Premuda (Stone) are gearing up to open Setting Sun Sake Brewing Co.
While a private backer has funded initial setup costs for their Miramar production facility, the duo recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help develop the tasting room in addition to financing extra lab equipment and future on-site barrel-aging capabilities.
"The idea of craft sake is new, unique and a relatively untapped market," says Premuda, "we want Setting Sun Sake to be more than a craft brewery by numbers, and hope people will support us in our Kickstarter campaign so we can take sake to the next level in San Diego."
Setting Sun Sake will be produced using rice grown and milled in Sacramento Valley — a rice polisher is another Kickstarter wish-list item — with renowned San Diego yeast bank White Labs developing a special in-house yeast blend; Hembree and Premuda plan to propagate their own koji starter (a mold spore commonly used in the sake brewing process).
Aiming to create an homage to Japan with their own take on SoCal style sake, which Hembree promises to be "fresh, flavor-forward and in your face", English descriptions will be used to denote the different styles; there are plans to produce premium grade (ginjo) unfiltered (nigori) and unpasteurized (namazaki) sakes, plus a hopped, IPA, and stout-style version with cacao nibs, vanilla bean and cold-pressed coffee from a local roaster. In the midst of a seven month licensing application, the duo hope to be up and brewing by early December.