Top Sake Winners of IWC 2019 Announced
On July 9 in London, the International Wine Challenge (IWC) 2019 announced the Sake division winners of the Sake Champion, Great Value, and Brewery of the Year Awards.
The winners were selected by a jury from a range of nine categories, including Junmai Daiginjo, Sparkling, and Aged Sake. Those with the highest scores were given Gold, Silver, or Bronze Medals as well as a “Commended” recognition.
The best of the Gold Medal winners are then given Trophy Awards and the very best brand among Trophy winners is given the coveted Champion Sake Award, which this year went to Katsuyama Junmai Ginjo Ken from Katsuyama Shuzo in Miyagi Prefecture.
There is also a highly regarded Great Value Award handed to a sake that achieves a Gold or Silver medal but also exhibits high cost performance, such as selling for under 1,000 yen (US$9.28) a bottle. This year Kiku-Masamune Shiboritate Gin Pack by Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing in Hyogo Prefecture took home the prize.
Also, the brewery that achieves consistently high scores for all of their entries can win the Brewery of the Year Award. This year, it went to Heiwa Shuzo in Wakayama Prefecture.
The IWC is considered by many to be the most influential award in the sake industry as a gauge of overseas preferences among Japanese brands. The awards can be pivotal for a brand’s marketability both in Japan and abroad.
Joy of Sake Returns to Hawaii with More Brands than Ever
The annual Joy of Sake event is making its return on August 9 at the Hawaii Convention Center. Billed as “the largest non-Japanese sake event,” this year’s line-up will be even bigger than ever.
A total of 512 brands of sake will participate this year, half of whom will be high-end daiginjo sake. Many of the sake brands in attendance have never been sold in the US before, making this year’s festival a chance for Americans to taste some rare brews.
In addition to the drinks, booths manned by 21 of Hawaii’s top restaurants and hotels can also be found, offering appetizers specially crafted for this event to go with the many kinds of sake available.
Joy of Sake is also working in cooperation with the US National Sake Appraisal, for which judging took place from June 4 to 6 in Honolulu. Through strict blind tasting by a panel of experts from Japan, the US, and Canada, various brnewands were given Gold and Silver awards. These award-winning brands will also be on hand at Joy of Sake for visitors to see and taste for themselves.
With plentiful sake and tasty foods to be had in the tropical paradise of Hawaii, Joy of Sake promises to be pure heaven for sake fans.
- Name: Joy of Sake
- Date: Friday, Aug 9
- Time: 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
- Location: Hawaii Convention Center, 1801 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu
- Admission: $155 for entry from 5:30 pm, $105 for entry from 6:30 pm
- Website: http://www.joyofsake.jp/
Sake-Themed Valentine’s Sweets in Development by Japanese Fashion Brand
Students and employees of Samantha Thavasa held a meeting earlier this month to brainstorm ideas for sweets that would go well with sake. It’s hoped these snacks could be given as gifts for next year’s Valentine’s Day (February 14) in which Japanese women customarily give presents to men.
Some ideas born of the brainstorming include creating baked goods that use sake rice to pair naturally with a glass of sake. It’s still early, but for the time being we may be in store for a sake-filled Valentine’s in 2020.
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