日本酒を語る

Talk about sake

2021.03.19

Knowledge

Yongo-bin

Sake bottles are generally grouped into four sizes: issho-bin (1.8L), yongo-bin (720ml), nigo-bin (360ml) and ichigo-bin (180ml, including one-cup sake). Among these, the most popular one is yongo-bin. This seems to be because it is easier to store in the refrigerator and it is just the right amount, under the circumstances where drinking at home has come to be rooted in our lives. With more and more people finishing the bottle of sake before the flavor changes, more and more breweries are focusing on producing yongo-bin sake, except for the ones sold to restaurants. By the way, it can be called either yongo-bin or shigo-bin, but the word “shi” is associated with “death” in Japanese, so it is better to call yongo-bin for auspicious occasions. Ichi (1)-go means 180ml, and yon (4)-go means 720ml, four times as much as ichi-go. Associated with the volume of 720 ml, the distributors also call it “nana-ni” meaning seven and two. Though yongo size seems to be halfway amount, there used to be a custom to pass around sake in a sakazuki cup, and the size of cup corresponded to yongo size. As for bottles, yongo-bin began to be created in Meiji era (1868-1912) for exports and expositions. However, the global standard bottle of wine is 750ml. Therefore, bottles of sake produced in Japan for exports include 750ml size and the one brewed overseas are mainly bottled in 750ml bottles just like wine.