We Are NYFirst-Ever Japan-led Sake Brewery to Open on U.S. East Coast in Hyde Park 

Partnership with The Culinary Institute of America to Develop Curriculum, Certification Programs and Public Classes

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced premium sake maker Dassai, celebrated the opening of their $80 million, 55,000 square foot, state-of-the-art brewery and tasting room in Hyde Park, Dutchess County, and the launch of their new U.S. brand, Dassai Blue. Over the past thirty years, Dassai has experienced exponential growth in Japan, the U.S. and globally. Opening their New York brewery is their latest expansion into the global sake market.  

“New York’s craft beverage manufacturers are engines for job creation, tourism, and regional economic growth,” Governor Hochul said. “Dassai’s expansion into the Mid-Hudson Region builds on New York’s national and international leadership in agribusiness and will be a welcome addition to this industry.” 

To encourage Dassai’s growth in New York, Empire State Development offered the Japan-based brewery up to $588,235 in performance-based tax credits through the Excelsior Jobs Program. Dassai has invested more than $80 million in the facility and will create 32 new jobs.  

A Junmai Daiginjo-only sake, Dassai is considered the highest level of premium sake. Made from 100 percent Yamada Nishiki rice, the gold standard of sake rice, Dassai still utilizes craft sake methods, making sake batch-by-batch, using handmade koji, and fermenting in each small tank. However, the brand also employs detailed analysis and technology to achieve its delicious taste and premium quality. Sake breweries that only produce such premium sake are rare even in Japan, with Dassai Blue becoming the first of its kind in the U.S. The Sakurai’s named their new creation “Dassai Blue,” which comes from an old Japanese proverb that says, “indigo dye is bluer than the indigo plant from which it is derived”.

The Dassai Blue property, located at 5 St Andrew Rd in Hyde Park, consists of two buildings: the brewery and a rice polishing facility, both of which were designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and their Japanese partner, Jun Mitsui. The interior is designed with both beauty and function in mind, welcoming visitors to observe the brewing process through multiple windows looking into various production rooms. The exterior design mixes modern and traditional, as seen in the tin roof and the burnt cedar walls of the rice mill. The use of wood incorporates Japanese elements while still blending with the natural surroundings of Hyde Park.

Dassai is also collaborating with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), also located in the Hyde Park, to further the education and awareness of sake in the United States. As part of the partnership, they have developed curriculum, certification programs, and public classes. Since sake plays an important role in Japanese society, these new unique programs will further the education of Japanese cuisine and culture for CIA students, food enthusiasts, food industry professionals and other visitors to the Mid-Hudson Region.

New York State Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The Mid-Hudson region is home to the country's oldest wine-making region and draws thousands of visitors annually, which makes it a perfect location to build Dassai’s state-of-the-art sake brewery. Dassai Blue will be a unique and exciting product that will be proudly produced in New York State and will surely be a top stop on tours and tastings which will bolster the regional economy.”

New York State Liquor Authority Chair Lily Fan said, “Dassai Blue’s investment in Hyde Park is a testament to the Hudson Valley as a premier destination for craft beverage manufacturing and yet another demonstration of the Governor Hochul’s leadership and commitment to bringing state agencies and businesses together to grow our economy.  This investment not only introduces Dassai’s world renowned sake to our state, but also creates jobs, generates economic development, and drives tourism to the region.“    

Dassai Chairman Hiroshi Sakurai said, "We want to express our sincere gratitude to Governor Kathy Hochul and Empire State Development for their support. The expansion of production to the United States is a significant step towards realizing the desire I had when I started Dassai 30 years ago, which was to have Dassai enjoyed all over the world.”

Culinary Institute of America President Dr. Tim Ryan said, “We are honored that Dassai chose to build its first U.S. operation just down the street from the CIA. We worked very hard to bring them here and look forward to our continued collaboration and to helping people discover how versatile — and food-forward — sake can be.”

New York now ranks in the top five in the U.S. for its number of craft beverage producers in every category. The state ranks first in the U.S. for the number of hard cider producers, second in craft distillers and breweries, and fourth in the country for the total number of wineries.

The addition of the Dassai Brewery will support the state's tourism efforts by encouraging visitors to plan a trip to experience the art of sake brewing, complementing getaways to other local attractions and destinations. Tourism is vital to the state economy. Earlier this month, Governor Hochul announced record breaking tourism numbers in 2022, the largest number of visitors in New York State’s history, generating more than $78.6 billion in direct spending and $123 billion in total economic impact. These figures represent staggering increases over 2021 and surpass the previous records set in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, following the Governor’s historic investments in tourism, economic development, public safety, transportation, and other key sectors. 

State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “With the launch of Dassai Blue Sake Brewery, Hyde Park is now home to the first-ever major sake brewery in the entire Northeast and a key player in developing the U.S. sake market. This achievement not only elevates New York’s reputation in the craft beverage space but also presents an incredible growth opportunity for Dutchess County and our Hudson Valley economy at large. Dassai’s presence in Hyde Park, where ties to the Culinary Institute of America run strong, is a true honor, and this exciting new business and manufacturing facility will undoubtedly shake up the drinks market.”

Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, “I am pleased to welcome Dassai to the growing number of craft breweries in the Hudson Valley and across New York State. Dassai’s facility, which was artfully repurposed into a state of the art sake brewery, will attract residents and visitors to the region, and contribute to our growing craft beverage industry.”

Dutchess County Executive William F.X. O’Neil said, “We welcome Dassai Blue Sake Brewery to Hyde Park. We are honored to have the first-of-its-kind facility here in Dutchess County. This project was realized through bold efforts of the Culinary Institute of America, Town of Hyde Park, Dutchess County, and New York State, and transformed a long vacant former grocery store into an international brewery that grows both our manufacturing as well as our tourism industries.”  

About Dassai Blue and Dassai

Dassai Sake is a super-premium Junmai Daiginjo sake made with Yamada Nishiki rice – the gold standard for sake production – rice utilizing “craft” methods — making sake batch by batch, koji by hand, and the yeast starter in small tanks. The original brewery was founded in the 1700s and is still in the same location in the town of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, in Southern Japan. The Sakurai family took over in the late 1800s during the Meiji era and started the sake brewing business as Sakurai Liquor Store. After the Second World War, in 1948, they established Asahi Shuzo with Hiroshi Sakurai becoming the family’s third-generation CEO in 1984. Under Hiroshi’s tenure, the brand of Dassai launched and within 14 years it grew from a small, local craft sake brand, to an international sensation as it began exporting to the US and Hong Kong. In 2015, Kazuhiro Sakurai succeeded his father as the 4th generation CEO, a role which he remains in today with Hiroshi serving as Chairman. Dassai currently ranks as a top ten sake brand in Japan by both production volume and sales. Its core range includes Dassai 23, 39 and 45 with numbers reflective of the rice polishing ratio, as well as Dassai Sparkling and Dassai Beyond.