My name is Bruce R. Yamada. My father, Ryuichi Yamada, worked for Y. Hata & Co. who was the sole distributor of Club Shoyu soy sauce made, at that time, by Teruo Togashi from Brewery Industries, Ltd. That soy sauce had been a staple of all the local markets and stores for many years.
When my father heard that Mr. Togashi was planning to retire and that he did not have anyone to take over the business, my dad and a few other investors decided to purchase the business and keep it going, since it was a big part of local residents at that time.
Dad tried to entice my uncle and cousin to run the business but they had a hard time, so he asked me to try. So I did. In 1979, we took over the business and incorporate under Club Shoyu Brewery, Inc.
It took me several months to learn the business from Mr. Togashi. The process uses soy powder and is a ready to mix. Whole process from mix to bottle takes about a week.
Throughout the years, I’ve learned a lot about the business and the factory itself. In one part of the factory, etched in concrete, is a date 1940. I believe that to be the beginning. Talking to nieghbors, it is said that during the War (WWII) the brewery had stove ovens to bake bread for the soldiers, who were living nearby.
I don’t know exactly when Mr. Togashi started making Shoyu sauce but in it’s beginning, he used soybean mashed in bags. Doing the Shoyu the old style took many months for one batch to be bottled with the fermentation process.
By education, Mr. Togashi was a chemist. Over the years, he refined the process to what it is today. The whole process, as I said, now takes one week.
Over the years, things have changed to reflect modern times. We have a different bottling machine, capper and boiler. Certain things are still done the same way due to restriction in space.
As a promise, my father has given me total ownership of Club Shoyu Brewery, Inc. That was done a few years back. My daughter, Julie, helps me with the business in Hilo. Like many businesses, we have a lot of part-time employees to save on labor cost and expenses. As a business, we are not affiliated with anyone else.
The local residents of the Big Island have been our main supporters of our product. We do ship product to Maui as well, distributed by VIP Foodservice. We have received inquires, over the years, from local residents that move away from the islands and request mail-order purchases. We now have a web site where you can order our Shoyu sauce.
The local wholesale distributors of our products are Y. Hata & Co., T. Hara & Co., Hilo Rice Mill and Suisan, Ltd.
Our product is a full body, flavored soy sauce. It’s great for cooking and BBQ / Teriyaki. A great marinate for smoking as well. This is a great condiment for sushi.