Dec 31, 2021 • 20M

Sake Industry News. Issue #55.

Know More. Appreciate More.

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Sake Industry News is a twice-monthly newsletter covering news from within the sake industry in Japan.
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Happy New Year, and welcome to Issue #55 of Sake Industry News!

As always, we're remaining positive (but not COVID positive) in the face of adversity and hoping 2022 will bring a year of prosperity and health for everyone. The industry has been through a lot over the past two years, but there remains plenty to be optimistic about; exports are up, new initiatives are emerging and many breweries are learning to adapt to the changing world.

Based on the unpredictability of the past two years it's impossible to foresee how this year will unfold, but let's hope it's a year that sees sake continue to break new ground and expand its market both locally and overseas.

From all of us at SIN we’d like to wish the very best to our readers for a safe and happy 2022.

And now for the news...

The Search For The Best Yamada Nishiki Is On Again

Yamaguchi- Asahi Shuzō is once again in the process of looking for the best Yamada Nishiki money can buy. For the third year running, the Yamada Nishiki Project invited farmers across Japan to submit their best Yamada Nishiki. The winner (and subsequent place-getters) will be purchased by Asahi Shuzō at well-above market price and used to create a special sake release.

Following an initial mechanized grain screening process, the competitors were narrowed down to 39 entrants. On December 2, the competition’s next inspection, held at the brewery's milling facility, whittled the possibilities down to 14 entrants from six prefectures.

Sake made from the winning rice of the 2019 rice competition, Dassai: Beyond The Beyond was auctioned through international auction house, Sotheby's last year, fetching bids as high as JPY840K (USD7400) for one bottle. However, sake made with the winning rice from the 2020 competition, although very good, was considered unworthy of the Beyond The Beyond label and remains unreleased. The rice contained exceptionally large shinpaku that brewers found to be prone to splitting as the rice was milled to higher rates. It was decided the rice was not worthy for sake above the Dassai Beyond label (the most expensive of the regular Dassai portfolio).

The final winning result will be announced on January 15, 2022.

Source - Asahi Shuzo

JG: The not-so-hidden benefits of this contest include the fact that, through competition, everybody gets better at growing Yamada Nishiki. And the marketing of the sake brewed using winning rice is brilliant too. This contest draws great attention, and I find it refreshingly original.


Toné Numata GI Set Is Now Available

Gunma- In January 2021 the region of Toné Numata in Gunma Prefecture was recognized as Japan’s sixth sake regional GI. Now four breweries from the region are releasing a Tone Numata GI sake set.

In order to qualify for the Toné Numata GI label, sake must be made using locally grown Yukihotaka, Gohyakumangoku or Koshihikari rice, and Gunma KAZE yeast, Gunma G2 yeast, or naturally occurring yeast from the Toné Numata region. Of course water must only be sourced from the local area.

Otone Shuzō, Nagai Honke, Nagai Shuzō, and Tsuchida Shuzō have each contributed sake to the set, which includes:

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