BY Haco  JUN 29, 2017
SAKE FAIR 2017 PRE-EVENT – TASTE THE KOKUSHU – PRE-EVENT is hold at Ikebukuro Sunshine City. It is the first time to have pre-event in Sake Fair, and with Mr. Yoshihiro Ohsumi, Winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine and; Miss. Nami Goto, President of the National Research Institute of Brewing as Special Speakers, this Pre-event has brought Sake information and knowledge to the world level.

Mr. Kensuke Shichida, Committee Chairman Sake Sales Promotion Committee said said ” the Japan Sake and Shochu Association endeavors to increase awareness of the appeal and proud tradition of sake as part of Japan’s legacy, looking ahead to 2020 when all eyes will be on Japan with the upcoming Olympic Games. Export of Japanese sake have been growing steadily both in sales and volume over the past ten years. In 2016, Japanese sake exports reached approximately 15.5 billion yen (approx. 2.6-fold increase compared to 2006). Last year marked the “highest ever” in Japanese sake exports: Approx. 110% both in sales and volume.”

With above numbers, you can easily see that there are a huge number of people know and even drinking Sake worldwide.

Special guest Nami Goto, President of the National Research Institute of Brewing explained the Annual Japanese Sake Awards and Ginjoshu.
“Every year between April and May, the Annual Japanese Sake Awards is hold. The program’s goal is to advance the quality of sake through nationwide surveys and research on new brews of sake by identifying the present state of sake brewing and sake quality as well as trends in sake brewing. First held in 1911, this year’s Awards will be the 105th, and is the only event of its kind to be held on a national level. In this year 860 sake brewers (almost 70% of sake brewers in Japan) nominated this award and 242 sake won the gold prize.”
As everyone knows, this is an award that has the longest history in Sake industry and it is still, one of the very important award for all sake brewers.
To nominate the Annual Japanese Sake Awards, all brewers need to prepare Ginjoshu grade of sake that made by last winter. Ginjoshu is a type of sake which has smooth taste and fruit flavor. It is made of highly polished rice, rice polished rate 60% (which means the rice need to be polished off 40%) When brewers polished the rice, part of the unneeded substances for sake brewing like proteins, lipids, minerals and other nutrients are removed. As a result the taste of sake becomes smooth and mild. Almost all the sake will join this award, and they might even make the rice polished rate down to 40% or lower. Brewers need skills & experience to handle such sake and this is where you can see how brewers put in their effort in this award.

Yoshihiro Ohsumi, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine was another special guest in this event. As you know, he used baker’s yeast (Kobo) to identify genes essential for autophagy. He gave a lecture of his study about autophagy (self eating) in the Pre-event this time. The common point between him and sake is in baker’s yeast. He has been using baker’s yeast since 1977.
Dr. said that “brewing of sake is very complicated and satisficed procedures. Also condition of brewing of sake is very stress full for yeast. So for yeast it is very important to survive in such a stress condition; high carbon, very limited nitrogen source, and high alcohol concentration. So I believe vacuum is very important for brewing process and I think we have many many basic questions to be solved making sake for future. “

During this pre-event, all invited guests had chances to taste the Annual Japanese Sake Awards nominated sake. You can specially see foreign guests are very happy to taste sake in different aroma, taste and color.
We have interviewed some international guests in the event; all of them are enjoying the chance to taste so many top sake in one time. And some of them are even first time to drink sake. They said it is great way to understand sake and enjoy Japan culture.