1. Outline

The South Kyusyu Sake and Shochu Awards are held annually by the Kumamoto Regional Taxation Bureau. The quality of sake and honkaku shochu made in South Kyusyu region's four prefectures (Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima) is evaluated by expert judges, and manufacturers and their production managers demonstrating superb techniques are given awards.
The purpose of these awards is to promote the advancement and development of sake brewing and shochu distilling skills in South Kyusyu and to contribute to the sound development of the sake and shochu industry.

2. Entry

(1) Sake

Category Style Brewed
Kumamoto Yeast Ginjo-shu ginjo-shu from July 2015 onward
Other Yeast Ginjo-shu ginjo-shu from July 2015 onward
Warmed Sake (Kan-zake) - -
"Ginjo-shu" is stipulated in the "Labeling Standard for the Manufacturing Process and Quality of Sake (NTA notice #8 in 1989)."
"Kumamoto Yeast" (also known as Kyokai Yeast #9) is a yeast strain that was originally established in Kumamoto. Owing to its ability to produce a fruity aroma, it has been considered as the most classic yeast to brew ginjo-shu. The entries in the Kumamoto Yeast Ginjo-shu category must be brewed solely with Kumamoto Yeast.
The Warmed Sake category is not a competitive category.

(2) Honkaku Shochu

Ingredient or Category Alcohol Distilled
Sweet Potato 25% from July 2015 onward
Rice, Barley, Brown Sugar, Buckwheat and Other 25% from January 2015 onward
Aged Shochu - before December 2014
The Aged Shochu category is a not competitive category.

3. Quality Evaluation

Quality evaluation was carried out in the Kumamoto Regional Taxation Bureau.

(1) Schedule

  Sake Honkaku Shochu
Preliminary Examination March 17, 2016 February 23-26, 2016
Final Examination March 23, 2016 March 24-25, 2016

(2) Judges

Expert judges were selected from a pool of panelists, including:
  • - Sake and shochu experts and manufacturers recommended by regional Sake and Shochu Makers Associations in South Kyusyu.
  • - Academics in the field of brewing.
  • - Staff members of the National Research Institute of Brewing (NRIB).
  • - Staff members of prefectural brewing-related organizations.
  • - Technical officers of the Kumamoto Regional Taxation Bureau.
  • - Technical officers of the Okinawa Regional Taxation Office.

(3) Process

The quality evaluations were performed by sensory evaluation. All examinations were blinded and administered by category. During the preliminary examination, each sample was scrutinized for the distinct attributes of aroma, taste and material characteristics to determine a sensory profile. The samples were also given 4-point scale scores based on their overall quality. After this preliminary process, the highest score entries, which represent approximately half of the total entries, were selected for the final examination. During the final examination, 3 characteristics (aroma, taste and total balance) were each assessed on a 4-point scale. The prizewinners were finally determined based on the final rankings.
Image: Sake Quality Evaluation
Honkaku Shochu
Image: Honkaku Shochu Quality Evaluation

4. Result

(1) Entries

Category Breweries Items
Kumamoto Yeast Ginjo-shu 18 71
Other Yeast Ginjo-shu 7 29
Warmed Sake 9 15
Honkaku Shochu
Ingredient or Category Distilleries Items
Sweet Potato 114 272
Rice 32 67
Barley 66 138
Brown Sugar 18 34
Buckwheat and Other 6 10
Aged Shochu 9 11

(2) Prizewinners

Category Breweries Items
Kumamoto Yeast Ginjo-shu 7 13
Other Yeast Ginjo-shu 4 7
Honkaku Shochu
Ingredient Distilleries Items
Sweet Potato 48 64
Rice 12 15
Barley 27 40
Brown Sugar 6 6
Buckwheat and Other 2 2

(3) List of Prizewinners