Fukushima-brewed new ‘sake’ tops national contest for record 6th year running

18 May 2018

In an annual national contest of newly brewed "sake" rice wine, 19 brands from Fukushima Prefecture were awarded the Gold Prize on May 17, giving Fukushima the largest number of top brands among Japan's 47 prefectures for a record-setting sixth straight year and the eighth time overall. Last year, Fukushima tied Hiroshima Prefecture for the then record of five successive top-place finishes.

The Annual Japan Sake Awards for the 2017 brewing year from July 2017 through June 2018 were announced by the National Research Institute of Brewing based in Hiroshima. The number of gold-winning brands from Fukushima was three less than last year’s 22. Kokken Brewery Co. of Minamiaizu town won the gold for the 11th consecutive year while two others -- Higashinihonshuzo Productivity Improvement Cooperative of Nihonmatsu city and Nagurayama Sake Brewing Co. of Aizuwakamatsu city -- did so for the 10th year running.

Hyogo Prefecture was also home to the same number of brands given the top honor as Fukushima at 19. They were followed by Niigata Prefecture with 14, and Miyagi and Akita prefectures with 13 each.

Besides the 19 gold winners, 12 other brands from Fukushima were given awards, adding up to 31 in total, also the largest number of award-winning brands from a single prefecture.

The competition, jointly sponsored by the institute and the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, is the sole contest of its kind held on a national scale. This year marked the 106th annual competition. Entries were limited to one brand per brewer of “ginjoshu” sake (made from highly polished rice, malted rice, water and additional brewing alcohol).

This year, 850 brands were entered from across the country, and 421 were chosen as award winners after a preliminary round of screening in April and a final round on May 8-9. Of the awardees, 232 were given the gold as particularly excellent brands.

[Photo] Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori (4th from right in front row) joins other people in celebrating the prefecture’s honor of being Japan’s top gold-winning sake brewer for a record-setting sixth year.

(Translated by Kyodo News)