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The Kobe Newspaper Next site celebrates some local success with a Hyōgo prefecture brewery taking top spot at the Sake Competition 2018 – in the label category.

The competition, organised by a committe formed of sake shops and other interested parties, judges commercially available sake and held its awards ceremony in Tokyo on 11 June 2018. This was its 7th year, with 455 breweries entering 1,772 sake in eight divisions.

The Fukunishiki brewery in the city of Kasai won top place in the label competition for their Shinryoku Horimaji (新緑の播磨路, fresh green leaves at Horimaji). They offer a series of seasonal junmai ginjō to celebrate the changing seasons in the historic Banshū area, part of today’s Hyōgo Prefecture.

The labels have a white background with gold printing showing the character fu from the brewery’s name alongside its logo. Although many sake labels are opting to use the English alphabet in order to make them more easily recognisable overseas, Fukunishi stood out for using hiragana characters like abstract symbols.

Owner Takayuki Inaoka, who accepted the award, said that the label is very important because it communicates the flavour of the sake and also the philosophy of the brewery. He is also committed to using local rice and water to produce sake loved by his neighbours in the region.

Other local winners from Kobe were gold medallists Kobe Shushinkan with their Fukuju Chōtokusen daiginjo in the ginjō category, and Hakutsuru with their Chōtokusen Tenkū junmai daiginjō in the Super Premium category (for sake selling at over JPY 15,000 per 1.8 L).