Sake of low alcohol concentration (低濃度酒)

Sake of low alcohol concentration is the recently invented sake with the alcohol content of 13 percent or less, normally with around 8 percent alcohol. It is also called low-alcohol sake. Low alcohol content was achieved through alcoholic fermentation, not by diluting the traditional sake with water.

In response to the changes in consumer-oriented products associated with a shift away from sake consumption and the closed images of the traditional sake regarded as a drink for stubborn and ignorant men, which were good reasons for experiencing the depression of sake consumption after the middle of the Showa period, sake brewers aimed to cultivate a new market that targets people who get drunk easily or women who had stayed away from sake all this time and invented this type of sake with the concept of 'low-alcohol.'

However, if diluting the traditional sake with just water, the sake would lose its overall flavor, so the development of a new brewing process and novel sake yeast were required to create the finished product with low-alcohol content as a result of the fermentation.

Quality of sake
Sake is produced in the multiple parallel fermentation process, resulting in yielding a higher alcohol content of 20 percent or more.

In most cases, sake is distributed after its alcohol content is lowered down to 14-16 percent based on the individual quality of sake. Sake with higher alcohol content than this alcohol content range is called sake of high alcohol concentration.

On the other hand, sake designed to have alcohol content less than 14 percent is called sake of low alcohol concentration.

The current status
As of May, 2006, a definition based on the Liquor Tax Act was not established because it had only a short history as a product. Additionally, the type of yeast used and the brewing process vary among sake brewers which produce sake of low alcohol concentration.

It mostly comes in suave texture and sweet flavor, which often consumed by women in place of cocktails in accordance with the concept of the initial product development; however, it has a bad reputation with the traditional sake drinkers, mainly male drinkers, complaining 'It's missing something.' or 'It lacks flavor.'

In contrast, with the help of examples that the introduction of ginjoshu (high-quality sake brewed at low temperature from rice grains milled to 60 percent weight or less) to the market outside Japan created a boom which led to the increase in the total production, some sake brewers seek export markets with this type of sake as a new product.

This is the type of product with good future potential.

[Original Japanese]