Talk about sake
The U.S. National Sake AppraisalThe U.S. National Sake Appraisal is the oldest sake competition conducted outside Japan. It has four categories: Daiginjo A (rice polishing ratio 40% or less), Daiginjo B (rice polishing ratio 50% or less), Ginjo and Junmai, with over 500 entries from approximately 200 breweries. About ten judges, mainly from Japan, rate the entries in two separate tastings. Entries with the highest scores in the second tasting receive gold and silver awards, with top entries in each category taking home Grand Prix and Second Grand Prix awards.
The Appraisal is hosted by Kokusai Sake Kai (International Sake Association), which was established in Hawaii in 1987 for the purpose of introducing people unfamiliar with sake to the pleasures of the sake cup. In those days, much of the imported sake had off-flavors due mainly to poor storage practices.
The association decided to organize a judging competion, conducted in a fair and strict manner, in order to establish a basis for people in the US to appreciate sake in peak condition. The first Appraisal was held in Hawaii in 2001 with the guidance of the National Research Institute of Brewing.
Following the Appraisal, all of the entries are presented for public tasting, along with sake appetizers prepared by famous local restaurants at a party-style event known as THE JOY OF SAKE. Usually it is held in Honolulu and New York, but in previous years it has been held in San Francisco, Las Vegas and London. From 2010 to 2019, it travelled to Tokyo as an annual fall event.