Mar 14, 2022

Sake Industry News. Issue #60.

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Sake Industry News is a twice-monthly newsletter covering news from within the sake industry in Japan.
Episode details

Welcome to Issue #60 of SIN.

We trust all our readers are keeping well and enjoying the subtle change of seasons. It's pretty much officially spring as those light, floral spring releases begin to hit the shelves. Whether we get to enjoy the spring sake under the cherry blossoms in the park as per tradition remains to be determined. However, rest assured, they will be consumed...somewhere...

For now, stay safe, stay happy and keep drinking sake.

And now for the news…

GI for Shiga Prefecture

Shiga- One more prefecture is looking to join the GI club as the National Tax Agency moves towards the final stages of approval for Shiga Prefecture.

The Shiga Brewers Association has applied for prefecture-wide recognition. The association described Shiga sake as having, "rice-derived sweetness and umami with a balanced level of acidity that can be enjoyed at many different temperatures."

Sake that qualifies for Shiga GI will only use rice from Shiga graded above level 3 of the Agricultural Product Inspection Act, and only apply to junmai categories ie. junmai, junmai ginjō, junmai daiginjō.

The Shiga Brewers Association will oversee the quality of GI approved sake.

Stay tuned for a formal announcement.

JG: Congratulations to Shiga Prefecture! I hope the effects of GI certification will help their market, and the sake market overall. The only question is, which prefecture will be next?

More Space For Storage But No Room for Russia

Fukui- Kato Kichibee Shōten (Born) is in the process of constructing a new distribution center near its main brewery. Overseas and domestic demand is keeping strong and the brewery is looking to expand its storage facilities. The brewery bought the land next to its headquarters, and will build a 1500 square meter facility with enough space to store 700,000 bottles of 720ml sake.

Exports to more than 100 countries take 40% of the brewery's production output. Sales took a hit in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic, but sales in China and the US remained solid. By 2021 sales had increased 80% over 2020 sales. 

Despite strong overseas demand, one country that will not be receiving Born sake anytime soon is Russia. Atsuhide Kato, president of Kato Kichibee Shōten ceased shipments to Russia late last year when he became aware of Russia's increased military aggression.

"I am furious about Russia's invasion of Ukraine," he said. "We will not resume export to Russia until peace returns to the area." 

President Kato was invited to a Japanese embassy reception in 2017 in the Ukraine and has visited the country more than 10 times. 

Source - Nikkei

JG: Forty percent is a very large percentage of production to be exported. In that light it is very courageous of Kato Shacho to be so steadfast in his support of Ukraine.

加藤吉平商店 , 梵

Time To Go To Nadagogō

Hyogo- Finally sake fans will be able to try sake from all the breweries in the legendary brewing region of Nada in one spot with the opening of Nadagogō Sakedokoro on April 29.

Nada Gogō is the collective name for the five districts in the suburbs of Kobe City and Nishinomiya City: Nishi-go, Mikage-go, Uozaki-go, Nishinomiya-go, and Imazu-go, that make up the largest sake production region by volume in Japan. The area is a popular destination for sake lovers, for its excellent brewery tour-walking course.

Nadagogō Sakedokoro is being opened by Kenbishi Shuzō on the site of a renovated brewing plant.

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