Miyakobijin Taiyou, a sake locally brewed in Hyogo Prefecture, was crowned champion at a renowned international competition in London on Tuesday.

The junmai ginjo sake, made only with polished rice, yeast and water, won this year's Champion Sake trophy at the sake division of International Wine Challenge, one of the world's biggest events of blind tasting boards.

The sake has "aromas of musk melon, strawberries, hints of nuttiness, almond spice with an exquisitely integrated acidity on the palate, complete with aniseed and white asparagus notes," according to tasting notes.

Miyakobijin Shuzo, based in the city of Minamiawaji, is the brewery of Miyakobijin Taiyou, the first local sake of Hyogo that won the IWC prize.

"I'll be happy if this will be an opportunity for our sake to be tasted around the world," said Osamu Ie, a master brewer at the brewery.

Ie, 69, originally from the town of Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, has been engaged in brewing sake at Miyakobijin Shuzo since October 2023.

He could not leave the brewery when the Jan. 1 Noto Peninsula earthquake hit his hometown. He kept in touch with his family while busying himself with brewing sake.

"Behind the prize are so many things connected to each other," Ie said. "I hope the prize will help cheer up my fellow brewers from Noto."

Meanwhile, Niizawa Sake Brewery Miyagi Prefecture was selected as IWC's Sake Brewer of the Year, winning high marks for all of its sake products entered for the event.

A sake produced by Nabedana in Chiba Prefecture was given the Great Value Champion Sake award.

The IWC sake division was launched in 2007. This year, 1,504 brands from seven economies were entered for the event.