The Art of Sake Labels

sake-labels

Sake has a lineage that dates back many centuries in Japan, and it’s a beverage that finds its way into many different facets of life. To celebrate the launch of a new company or wedding, a ceremony known as kagami biraki is held, where participants use a mallet to break open a cask of sake, and then serve the brew to guests at the ceremony. Depending on the shrine you visit at the beginning of the new year, you may find yourself drinking a bit of sake out of a small dish. And while beer is definitely a popular drink, there’s no alcoholic drink that’s more Japanese than nihonshu.

But sake producers aren’t satisfied with just holding on to tradition though; new generations of brewers are constantly refining their approach to making the beverage. And with so many different sakes on the market, there is a strong need to stand out, to both domestic and international consumers. One of the ways you do it is with an eye-catching label. This visual creativity was one of the things that struck us while we were visiting the Sake Competition 2017, which was held earlier this year, and we’ve had our minds on these appealing labels ever since we saw them there. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we couldn’t help being drawn to these tastefully clever designs.

sake-label

sake-labels
This one reminded us a bit of Where the Wild Things Are…

sake-labels

sake-labels

sake-label
“Hitomebore” means “love at first sight,” which fits nicely with this slightly blingy label
sake-label
This stylized take on the kappa, a traditional Japanese mythical being, caught our eye

sake-labels

sake-labels
“Are you saying ‘kampai’ to me!?”

sake-labels

sake-labels
Images of the Seven Lucky Gods can be found in many places around Japan, including what can only be a very lucky bottle of sake

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