SIZING UP THE BOTTLES
The Annual Japan Sake Awards, a competition sponsored by Japan’s National Brewing Institute and Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, has been in existence since 1911, and often the above-mentioned most elegant and delicate styles of sake are submitted for this prestigious event. The results of the competition can make or break a sake brewery’s reputation and sales volumes for each subsequent year.
A typical batch of sake produces about 250 standard 720ml bottles, uses 1,310 litres of water and 1,000kg of rice – of which 201kg are koji and 799kg plain steamed rice.
In feudal Japan, rice was said to be measured out in a masu, a square cup made of cedar that could hold approximately 180ml. After the discovery of sake, the drink was consumed out of that 180ml cedar masu for ceremonial purposes. Some bars still serve nihonshu in a masu to gain that aromatic cedar note.