On November 13 2019, we visited Nambu Bijin booth in Food Diversity Multicultural EXPO, the first sake brewery in the world to get vegan certification.

Vegan Sake Booth

The Multicultural EXPO itself is held with the intention of spreading information about food diversity and how brands in Japan can improve themselves by producing food for diverse consumers. This event also raises the importance of accommodating emerging vegan, halal, and kosher market especially nearing the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Food Diversity Multicultural EXPO

The event was held in two days and many brands also promote their vegan, halal, and kosher products throughout the expo.

A Little Bit About Nambu Bijin Sake

Nambu Bijin Vegan Sake

Originating in Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture, Nambu Bijin has been established since the year 1902. Nambu Bijin has been making sake for five generations and right now they export sake to 38 countries all over the world.

To accommodate the need of people of different food culture background, Nambu Bijin applied and acquired kosher certification in 2013 from Kosher Japan, and vegan certification in 2019 from The Vegan Society and NPO Vegeproject Japan. By accommodating the need of all kinds of people, Nambu Bijin hope that they can convey the appeal of sake to the world.

Sake Is Not Always Vegan

Many people would think that since sake is made from rice, water, and koji, it will automatically be vegan. But that is not always the case. Like all liquor, sake may or may not be vegan depending on the brewing process.

During the brewery of sake, there is a process called orisage or the fining process. This process reduce the milky turbidity of sake and make the sake more clear looking. Cloudiness after bottling can reduce sake value. In orisage process, some breweries use gelatin. That is why not all sake is vegan.

Nambu Bijin doesn't use any animal products in their production. Therefore they don't have to change anything to be certified as vegan.

Furthermore, the president of Nambu Bijin explained that certification is also important because not many people can identify which sake is vegan and which sake is not by knowing the brewing process. And, to vegans who don’t understand all that, drinking sake can feel pretty risky. That’s why Nambu Bijin felt the need to have many people know that their sake is certified vegan.

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About The Writer

Hello, this is Sekar and Farhan. We are currently working as content marketing interns at Kawashima The Japanstore. I’m (Sekar) from Indonesia, and Farhan is from Malaysia. Both of us are interested in food diversity so we visit Multicultural EXPO to see how Japanese food companies are making an effort to understand and open themselves to a more diverse market. We hope you find this event report useful. Thank you for visiting our site.