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Japan's Sake Brewers Looking to Terroir for Marketing Strength

Few alcoholic beverages are as intimately associated with one country as sake is with Japan. Nihonshu, or “Japanese sake,” became a protected term internationally only in 2015; before that, it hardly seemed necessary. Hard on its heels, the prefecture of Yamagata became recognized as a “geographical indication” on labels for particular sakes the following year. This is the same sort of World Trade Organization recognition that requires a wine labeled Bordeaux to hail from that region of France, and it presupposes that sakes from a given region should share a recognizable taste, quality, or character. Do they?

 

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