The first sake brewery on the east coast, Asahi Shuzo's Dassai Blue Brewery reimagines an abandoned grocery store into a sake sanctuary

Hyde Park, NY, USA

Nestled near the banks of the Hudson River in Hyde Park, NY, a former national chain grocery store now stands transformed into a state-of-the-art sake brewery, the first large-scale brewery dedicated to sake production in the northeastern United States. Encompassing 55,000 square feet, the brewing facility houses dedicated spaces for rice washing, drying, steaming, and fermentation. Koji-making, bottling and shipping of the sake is also incorporated. Designed by Jun Mitsui & Associates in partnership with Pelli Clarke & Partners, the design harmonizes elements of traditional Japanese architecture, contemporary hospitality-style amenities and small-scale manufacturing to provide a unique visitor experience and a highly advanced brewing facility. 

The abandoned grocery store pre-renovation.
cases produced annually
Located at the corner of the site as a gateway and symbol of the activity beyond, the rice polishing facility is designed to resemble a Kura, or a traditional Japanese storehouse. 

A fusion of traditional and contemporary Japanese architecture 

The site comprises three distinct buildings: the brewery, the rice polishing facility, and its own wastewater treatment facility. The public facing tasting room invites visitors to take a tour, taste sake, and enjoy both indoor and outdoor spaces. Large windows offer views into production rooms, allowing visitors to observe the brewing process. The building's exterior seamlessly blends modern and traditional Japanese architectural elements, incorporating features such as a traditional indoor/outdoor Engawa, wooden detailing, and Yakisugi charred cedar cladding. The extensive landscaping of the site mediates between the lush, seasonal landscape of the Hudson Valley, and traditional Japanese garden elements such as private seating nooks and Cherry trees. 

The welcoming front door of the main building includes an engawa – a traditional Japanese indoor/outdoor covered corridor.  

Streamlined production flow 

Built within the shell of the preexisting former grocery store, the brewery seamlessly fits into the building’s footprint with production following a counterclockwise flow from two loading docks. Polished rice moves from the northeast facility building, progressing through production steps, culminating at the southeast corner for bottling and shipping, utilizing the pre-existing loading dock. 

The existing parking lot was reduced by half to convert to landscaping, a stage for outdoor performances, and a walking path. 

More About the Project

Project Team

  • Jun Mitsui, AIA, JIA
  • Fred Clarke, FAIA, JIA, RIBA
  • David Coon, AIA
  • Mark McDonnell, AIA
  • Masa Ninomiya, AIA
  • Ileana Dumitriu

Principal Collaborators

  • Design Architect: Jun Mitsui & Associates
  • Architect of Record: Pelli Clarke & Partners
  • MEP Engineer: Fitzmeyer & Tocci
  • Structural Engineer: Gibble Norden Champion Brown
  • Landscape Architect: Reed-Hilderbrand
  • Civil Engineer: Chazen Labella

Project Information

  • Location: Hyde Park, New York, USA
  • Client: Asahi Shuzo Brewery
  • Size: 66,889 total sq. Ft. / 6,214 sq. M.
  • Completion: 2023
  • Firm Role: Architect of Record
  • Photography: Antonio Medina, Enzo Figueres