1. Overview

The Osaka Sake Awards 2021 (Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, and Wakayama Prefectures) are held in accordance with the following aims:

  1. (1) Undertake annual quality examinations of sake made within the Kansai region in the fall, and notify entrants of their evaluation results.
  2. (2) Encourage the advancement, development, and quality improvement of sake making technology by disclosing the results of sake entries to parties involved in sake making.
  3. (3) Contribute to the development of the sake industry.

The Kansai region, which includes Osaka City, Kobe City, and Kyoto City, is well known for its sake consumption, and both Nada (Coastal Nishinomiya City and Kobe City) and Fushimi (southern Kyoto City) are Japan's largest sake producing areas. The Kansai region possesses state-of-the-art technology for sake making, and is well known for producing high-quality sakes.

The Kansai region extends from the Sea of Japan, with its colder oceanic climate, to the Pacific Ocean, with its milder climate. Consequently, there are a large number of breweries that produce a wide variety of rich, mellow, and crisp sakes.

2. Sake Entries

(1) Ginjo-shu

Ginjo-shu(“Labeling Standards for the Manufacturing Process and Quality of Sake [National Tax Agency Notice No. 8, 1989]”) produced during the 2020 brewing year (July 2020 to June 2021).

(2) Warmed sake

Warmed sake made using rice with a rice-polishing ratio of at least 60%, with no limitation on brewing year.

3. Quality Evaluations

(1) Evaluation dates

September 27 (Monday), 28 (Tuesday) and 30 (Thursday), 2021

(2) Evaluation venue

Alcoholic Beverage Evaluation Office and Analysis Room, Fourth Floor, Osaka National Government Building No. 3

(3) Evaluation methods

Evaluations were conducted by a panel of 54 judges (individuals under the age of 65 years at the time of the quality assessments with broad knowledge and expertise in the quality assessment of alcoholic beverages, such as staff members of prefectural brewing-related organizations and toji, or master sake brewers).

Ginjo-shu was evaluated at room temperature, and warmed sake was evaluated at approximately 45°C after heating in a vessel containing water at 50-52°C.

(4) Evaluation standards

Overall quality was evaluated for the following qualities of sake deemed to be “good”.

Ginjo-shu: Harmony of aroma and flavor that is distinctive of ginjo-shu.

Warmed sake: Harmony of aroma and flavor that elicits a desire that cannot be sated.

4. Status of Entries

(Unit: entries, sites)
Prefecture Category Actual number of sites
Ginjo-shu Warmed sake Total
Shiga12 11 23 12
Kyoto 21 16 37 22
Osaka 6 5 11 6
Hyogo 30 33 63 36
Nara 9 10 19 12
Wakayama 6 5 11 6
Total 84 80 164 94

5. Trends in Sake Quality among Entries

In the 2020 brewing year, the effects of higher temperatures in August and September were evident in a tendency toward harder rice with lower solubility. Combined with severe temperature fluctuations in winter, the height of the brewing season, the year proved to be a challenging one for managing the fermentation process. Given these circumstances, sake producers outdid themselves in their application of sake making techniques mastered through rigorous daily training and their observance of appropriate storage methods in the summer months. As a result, many of the sakes entered this year were found to be characterized by excellent quality with well-balanced aroma and flavor.

(1) Ginjo-shu

The entries exhibited marvelous quality, with the fragrant aroma from the fermentation, the full flavor of the rice, and a satiny mouthfeel from well-calibrated aging all in harmonious balance.

(2) Warmed sake

Despite the rich variety of types - some light, some full, some tart, some sweet, and some with a sense of maturity - this year’s entries shared the common element of tasting even better when warmed, so that they never failed to invite another sip.

6. Conferment of Prizes

Breweries whose entries received superior scores for quality were awarded the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau Commissioner's “Excellence Prize”.

7. List of “Excellence Prize” Recipient Breweries