(a) Characteristic of liquor
Koji, which is made by inoculating Koji mold (a variety of Aspergillus) onto rice, is used for converting rice starch into sugar. This saccharization method is unique in the world. Also, it is believed that this present systematical method had been gradually established since the Muromachi period(1333-1573) until the Edo period(1603-1868). “Nihonshu” has a variety of taste, depending upon the varieties of Koji mold because the different kind of Koji mold introduces the different level of saccharization and amino-acids production.- Yeast
Most “Nihonshu” breweries use the yeast specially selected as suitable for making “Nihonshu”, which has been popular since the Meiji period (1869-1912). It was biochemically proved that the yeast selected for “Nihonshu” has higher activity for alcohol fermentation than the normal yeast. The activities of aroma and flavor production are differed depending upon the varieties of yeast, which brings a variety of taste on “Nihonshu”- Combination effect of koji mold and yeast
“Nihonshu” has relatively high alcohol content in comparison with other fermented liquors, because (i) both saccharization and alcohol fermentation are gently and steadily proceeding at the same time in the fermentation mash, (ii) the specially-selected yeast described above is used.
(3) Essential attribution of its geographical origin to characteristics of liquor
To use the geographical indication “Nihonshu”, it shall satisfy the following conditions:
“Nihonshu” shall be made from the raw materials of “Seishu” prescribed by Article 3, Item 7 of Liquor Tax Act. Rice and rice koji should originate in Japan(b) Production method
“Nihonshu” shall be made in Japan and its producing method shall follow “Seishu” making method, prescribed by Article 3, Item 7 of Liquor Tax Act.
Raw material and production method of “Nihonshu” are clearly prescribed by Article 3, Item 7 of Liquor Tax Act, and recording of actual practices concerning raw material and production method is obligated for “Nihonshu” producers based on Liquor Tax Act. In addition, approval of production method by National Tax Agency is necessary for the purpose of maintaining the quality of “Nihonshu”.
With regard to rice as a raw material, it is possible to confirm clearly whether rice used for production originate in Japan, because recording of trade information and transmission of origin information concerning rice is obliged for not only rice producer but also “Nihonshu” producers based on relevant Act.
National Tax Agency establishes the monitoring system for their compliance, that is, sufficient management to maintain the characteristic of liquor as a geographical indication is achieved.
Seishu/Sake (Article 3, Item 7 of the Liquor Tax Act)