Contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has joined forces with NEXT5 brewing unit to produce a limited edition range of sake. Announced by Murakami’s company Kaikai Kiki Co., the special range features bottles designed by the artist filled with a unique brew of Akita sake.

The collection showcases four original bottle designs, one in glass and three in ceramic, featuring Murakami’s signature motif of smiling flowers. However, Murakami’s art is not the only special aspect of the range. The bottles contain pure Junmai Daiginjo Sake from the NEXT5 producers, brewed using methods older than the traditional Kimoto-zukuri method; dating from the earliest years of the Edo period (1603-1868). As both are created using materials sourced specifically from the Akita prefecture of Japan, with maximum attention to detail, the brew is limited to only 5,000 units.

NEXT5, the creator behind this unique sake, is a joint brewing unit of five prominent Akita brewers joining their knowledge and skills together to create sake for the next generation. They comprise of Tadahiko Kobayashi of Akita Brewery, Yusuke Sato of Aramasa Brewery, Koei Watanabe of Fukuokuju Brewery, Tomofumi Yamamoto of Yamamoto Brewery and Naouilo Kuribayashi of Kuribayashi Brewery.

With this collection Murakami joins them on this mission, saying that ‘NEXT5 are going back to question the very nature of what sake is when they create sake…We want to grasp this thread and weave it into a fresh form.’