Dojima Saké Brewery is bridging East and West by making authentic Japanese saké in a historic location in rural Cambridgeshire
A 13th century Gilbertine priory in Cambridgeshire might seem like an unusual place to base a Japanese brewery, but it turns out the historic Fordham Abbey – with the pristine water that surrounds it – was the perfect location to brew saké. Dojima Saké Brewery brings with it the brewing heritage and craftsmanship of Osaka’s Hashimoto family, which has been brewing saké since 1822 and which now proudly weaves that culture into the fabric of English country living.
“Hospitality is at the heart of what we do and our saké in your glass embodies the passion we have for quality, tradition and luxury,” says Kiyomi Hashimoto, CEO of Dojima Saké. “Saké is sacred to us and our goal is to elevate this most divine and majestic of drinks to its rightful position in the minds of people who enjoy the finer things in life.”
Dojima’s vision is to create a unique place where people can come together to experience the very best of Japanese culture while enjoying world-class saké in a stunning rural retreat. The beautiful 75-acre estate contrasts modernity and tradition with a state-of-the-art saké brewery and a Grade II-listed Georgian manor house linked by charming orchards and walled kitchen garden. Exploring further through rose-framed arches leads to a spectacular Japanese garden where cherry blossom trees, Momiji maples and manicured pines spirit you away to Japan.
“Our flagship saké is called Cambridge in homage to the nearby university city and ancient seat of learning,” says Kiyomi. “The saké is handcrafted in small batches using carefully selected saké rice from Japan and the pure water we are blessed with here at Fordham Abbey. Cambridge is brewed and fermented with dedication and precision producing a saké that is rich and luxurious, perfect for cellar ageing. Our exquisitely lit Cambridge cellar is a two-storey converted potting shed and houses all our vintages from 2018 to present. This magical and sacrosanct space can only be glimpsed once a year by the select few who can call themselves Cambridge owners.”
Cambridge saké is brewed using a centuries-old technique which used to be the preserve of the Imperial Court in Japan. Some of the brewing water is replaced with saké which results in a final product that is opulent, complex and something to be truly savoured. “Our Japanese master brewer, or ‘toji’, brings skill and wisdom from a long and distinguished career to craft this unique and precious sake from rice and water,” says Kiyomi. “Each bottle of Cambridge saké maturing in the cellar has an elegantly simple hand-written label bearing the owner’s name. The label also features the Japanese characters which read ‘kakehashi’, or bridge. Dojima hopes to act as a cultural bridge between Japan and the UK and the saké itself a bridge connecting hearts and minds.”
This year, Dojima will be issuing a limited-edition run of 300 bottles commemorating the Rolls-Royce Owners Club, purchase of which will include entry to the Dojima Members’ Club and a special invitation to Dojima’s home at Fordham Abbey. Membership grants unprecedented access to the many features of this impressive estate and also contributes greatly to the upkeep of a national treasure. “It is our mission to see Fordham Abbey thrive for generations into the future,” says Kiyomi, “and we are working tirelessly to restore the manor house, walled gardens and old river bridge to be enjoyed by our valued members.”