Following the announcement of the UK's first saké brewery, a traditional Shinto ceremony was held at the construction site in east Cambridgeshire.
The event, known as a Jichinsai, is a traditional Shinto ceremony, undertaken to purify the building site before laying foundations – blessing the people involved in construction.
Expected to take nine months to complete, the brewery will see its first production of saké available in October 2017. When all is up and running, the Dojima saké brewery aims to make 10,000 bottles in its first trading year.
'Although this is a ceremony that happens in Japan when a new building is being constructed, it has never happened in the UK and I was very happy to be a part of it', said his excellency ambassador Koji Tsuruoka, who was in attendance at the event. 'The ceremony showed the respect that the two countries have for the tradition and it is through appreciation of these historical and cultural treasures that the two countries are bound very strongly together.'
The ceremony was fascinating and shows what a diverse area we are in,' said MP for South East Cambridgeshire, Lucy Frazer. 'It's great to have a new and interesting business establishing itself in the region and it will bring a great deal to the constituency in financial terms, as well as culturally.'
The Dojima Saké Brewery UK & Co is owned by Mr Yoshihide Hashimoto who believed the ceremony was 'fundamental in the build' and revealed he was 'very happy to share this moment with many of the local people who have been involved in the process so far.'
The appointed contractor for the build, Patrick Doyle, said he felt honoured to be invited to the Jichinsai ceremony and blessed by the Shinto priest, commenting: 'We are thrilled to be involved in such a prestigious project and look forward to the upcoming months.'
The site will see £9m invested over a period of five years, and was given unanimous planning approval by the District Council. The brewery is set to create 10 local jobs during the build, at the brewery and accompanying on-site visitor centre.