The sake brewers in advanced regions such as Hyogo, Aichi, and Saitama prefectures began innovations in brewing techniques to improve quality from 1890's. In contrast, the peripheral regions such as the Tohoku Area have long maintained traditional brewing techniques in order not to increase the cost of production. Therefore, the disparity in technological levels between regions expanded.
Under these circumstances, the national government established the Brewing Research Laboratory to research and develop brewing techniques, which played very important roles in supporting sake brewers, as well as in promoting the introduction of new techniques to so-called peripheral regions in 1900's. They were adopted by many sake brewers in peripheral regions to make the production process easier than in the advanced region's. The interregional disparity diminished. Accordingly, the advanced regions lost their superiority in brewing technique.
National sake competitions have been held since 1907. The brands produced in advanced regions lost prizes, while those in the peripheral regions won the event every year. The prizewinner was sweet, however, the others were pungent in flavor. Sweet sake was regarded as having high quality in the events.
However, sweet sake has not become popular in the consumer market. Therefore, brewers in the peripheral regions could not expand their market shares. In addition, sake
brewers in the advanced regions often held their own local sake
competitions, and enhanced the infiltration of their brands into the markets. Taking sake
brewers in Saitama Prefecture as an example, by producing sake
with a somewhat light alcohol content, they could expand their market share.
's qualities were homogenized within a region, they could be easily differentiated from another region's sake. In the Kanto Region, the sake
brewers in Saitama Prefecture homogenized the qualities of their brands; however, in Tochigi Prefecture the quality was so diverse that they could not be differentiated from other region's sake
. As a consequence, sake brewers in Saitama gained more shares than Tochigi in the sake market.
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