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Unifying Sake Labels


By Yuji Matsumoto

Consumers’ purchase motivations
• I like sake A because it’s rich-bodied and has good acidity and pairs well with meat dishes, but I couldn’t find it in a supermarket. How can I find something similar to it?
• Which sake will be good as a birthday present for my girlfriend(boyfriend), who usually prefers red wines with higher tannin levels?
• I usually enjoy drinking B, but today is a special occasion and I want something similar but more expensive. How do I choose one?
• What’s good as hot sake?

Generally speaking, these are the sorts of questions normal consumers have.

It’s impossible to provide answers to all such questions and display sake accordingly, but it is possible to categorize them by the aroma, body, and food parings. Below chart is what I would use as an attempt to categorize most of the sake, based on my innumerous tastings in the past.
First, have the breweries categorize all their sake being exported to U.S. into “zones.” If they think their sake is refreshing with an aroma of a cantaloupe, it should be in the “summer zone.” The categorizations should be displayed on labels in an industry-wide standardized format. Restaurants and retailers can then post posters or hang messages on the neck of the bottles, to explain the zoning map. The breweries can have their own logos in the middle of the labels as they wish. I sincerely hope that sake bottle labels can be standardized as such.


• Aという濃醇なボディーで酸味香のある肉料理に合う日本酒が好きだが、スーパーに行ったらこの銘柄が無かった。Aという銘柄に近いものを探すのにはどうするか。

• 今回は、彼(彼女)の誕生日なので、普段タンニンの効いた赤ワイン好きな彼(彼女)が気に入る日本酒はどれだろうか。

• 普段はBという銘柄を好んで飲んでいるが、今日は特別な日なので値段が高い同じ傾向の日本酒がほしいがどうやって選ぶか。

• 熱燗に適した日本酒はどれ?

#label #paring #sake

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