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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Fukushima brewery wins first place in Int'l Wine Challenge sake category

A Fukushima Prefecture brew has taken first place in the sake category at the International Wine Challenge (IWC), the world's largest wine-tasting competition,
held in London on July 16.

The "Champion Sake" was "Aizu Homare Banshu Yamada Junmai Daiginjo," from Homare Sake Brewery Co. in Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture. Chosen from among 876 applicants, it was the first Fukushima brand to take first place since the sake category was established in 2007.
"This will help stop the damage from unfounded rumors (about radiation contamination) after the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster," said a source close to the brewery.
The IWC's sake category is one of the largest sake-tasting competitions overseas, and past winners have seen a rush of orders from both domestic and foreign customers. Half of the judges are non-Japanese. They choose winners in seven subcategories and then select the "Champion Sake" from among those seven.
This year, among the winners of the seven subcategories was another Fukushima sake, "Yumegokoro," chosen as the best brew in the "Futsu-shu" (normal) category.
The Aizu region, where Homare Sake Brewery Co. is located, is around 100 kilometers from the disaster-hit Fukushima plant, and was for the most part unaffected by it. Still, foreign sales have taken a hit due to factors such as China and South Korea putting restrictions on imports of Fukushima-brewed sake.
Homare Sake Brewery Co. President Hiroyuki Karahashi commented, "It was painful when foreign customers said they wanted to return our products because they were Fukushima-brewed. We are still sometimes asked to produce certification" that the products are not radioactively contaminated.
He added, "The efforts of local breweries to create high-quality products that shake off the effects of unfounded rumors have led to these contest victories. I hope winning these prizes help Fukushima Prefecture's recovery."

Source: http://mainichi.jp/english/