Interview to President of Heiwa Shuzo, Awarded with IWC2020 Champion Sake – Part 1At 5:00p.m. on December 7th, four months later than most years, final results of the IWC (International Wine Challenge) were released on the Internet. The IWC Champion Sake 2020 went to Kid Muryozan Junmai Ginjo, 2020 / Heiwa Shuzo Co,. Ltd / Wakayama. Here is our interview to President Mr. Norimasa Yamamoto, the current and fourth generation.
――The name Muryozan comes from the temple called Muryozan Choganji, which used to be located before the establishment of the brewery. The tasting notes of IWC judges were “Melon, persimmon, herbal nose, linen-like texture, melon, pineapple flavour with slight spritz. Sansho pepper on the finish.” What is the background and what kind of sake it is?
◆ With a hope to create sake that will help develop sake business and industry, we released our sake called KID in 2008. The name reflects the climate and terroir of Kishu region together with our wish to keep on improving for the future. Toji (brew master), kurabitos and all of our staff got together to make continuous improvement. While working on brewing sake, we still had a desire to express brewer’s commitment as it is, though it may be just our pleasure, joy or ego brought by challenging ourselves. With such feeling, we aimed for the best junmai and premium ginjo and created Muryozan as a result. Our brewery has a long history and culture of involving many workers and staff. We too have to pass down what is better for our future. Therefore, to represent our determination, we prefixed the sango (honorific mountain name prefixed to a temple’s name) to the name of our sake.
――Heiwa Shuzo was elected Sake Brewer of the Year, whose entry sake received the highest scores, for the second consecutive year.
◆ In 2011, we submitted KID for entry in IWC for the first time. The reason why we started submitting entry soon after we launched the brand is because of our challenge against whether our sake could become world-class. In 2014, KID Daiginjo was awarded Regional Trophy in the category of ginjo. I was delighted. Even after that, our sake was awarded constantly and also Sake Brewer of the Year for the second consecutive year. Then I was convinced we were doing right things.
――They try not to become diffident and continued challenging from early on to develop their skills and sensitivity. As a result, their sake was highly valued, and they have gained valuable experience to receive double trophies. (Photo by: Heiwa Shuzo Co., Ltd)