Sanbai Zojo Seishu (三倍増醸清酒)

Sanbai zojo seishu (sanzoshu for short, sake swelled by adding distilled alcohol, sugars, acidulants, monosodium glutamate, etc.) is a common name of zojoshu, a kind of sake which was introduced at the time of rice shortage after World War II.

Production method

Distilled alcohol diluted with water to the same concentration as seishu (refined sake) is put into moromi (raw unrefined sake) made of rice and rice malt, and then sugar (glucose, mizuame [thick malt syrup]), sour agents (lactic acid, succinic acid, etc.), glutamic sodium, and so on are added for seasoning. The zojoshu which has been made in this way is tripled in volume and so it is called sanbai zojo shu (triple swelled sake) or sanbai zojo seishu (triple swelled refined sake). Sanbai zojo seishu is not shipped as it is, but is blended with seishu to which alcohol is added, and made it into products.

Background of popularization

The rice shortage became serious as the results of the stoppage of import of foreign rice after World War II and of the increase of population due to the repatriation and demobilization. For this reason, in addition to the increase in volume of seishu by adding alcohol which had been permitted since the wartime, the production of zojoshu was permitted. Even after the alleviation of rice shortage, it remained the main stream of the post-war seishu, because rice for sake brewing could not be purchased freely due to the continued rationing, profitability was high due to the production of seishu at low cost, the expansion of consumption could be met due to the high-volume production, and the consumers preferred the sanbai zojo seishu to the junmaishu (sake made without added alcohol or sugar) that contained more miscellaneous flavors due to insufficient polishing in response to the rice shortage.

However, through the jizake (local sake) boom which occurred in the mid-1970s, consumers who looked for seishu of higher quality gradually increased, which caused the increased production of honjozoshu (a sake brewed with rice of polishing ratio not exceeding 70 % as main material and distilled alcohol of as auxiliary material not exceeding 10 % of rice by weight) with less added alcohol and no added sugar and of junmaishu which was the original Japanese sake. As the additive amount was limited by the revision of the Liquor Tax Act in 2006, the volume cannot be tripled at present.