Sake’s Shipping Date, Best Before Date, Expiration Date
According to the National Tax Agency’s “Labeling Standards for the Manufacturing Process and Quality of Sake”, the production date that should be affixed on the sake bottles indicates the date when sake is bottled for sale, and for the bottle storage, it is the date when sake is produced for sale after the storage is completed, so there is no obligation to label the best before date. Certainly, it is possible to put the best before date and storage period on sake following the standards. You can keep the quality of sake fit for drinking for a long period of time as long as it is stored properly. (see how to store sake) Even after the bottle is opened, you can enjoy the gradual changes over time in the flavor and taste. There are sometimes when the flavor of sake once thought to be deteriorated can restore the well-balanced and rich taste when it is given more time. The Consumers Affairs Center also states drinking old sake does not harm health. In that sense, this is probably why best before date and expiration date are useless. However, remember that namazake, unpasteurized sake, tends to be more vulnerable to changes in the flavor and taste and to deteriorate quicker than pasteurized sake. Moreover, there is the best flavor and timing that breweries recommend us to try.