Mishio Sento, a daughter of the brewers, talks at the family-run Sento Sake Brewery Co. in Geisei, Kochi Prefecture, on June 22 about her family’s sake and how she is happy with a recent international award. (Video taken by Masatoshi Kasahara)

GEISEI, Kochi Prefecture--When a century-old sake brewery here needed a name for a new product, it kept it in the family, naming it after a daughter of the company president and head brewer.

The brewery, located near a sandy white beach with a view of the Pacific Ocean, called its new sake Mishio, which means “beautiful ocean.”

Miki Sento, 44, president of Sento Sake Brewery Co., and her husband, Ryota, 46, the head brewer, named their first daughter Mishio when she was born nine years ago.

The couple thought of the sounds of the warm Pacific surf when selecting their baby’s name.

Mishio, now a third-grader, said, “I was stunned when my name was placed on the label of our new sake.”

The brewery, which ships about 50,000 bottles of sake annually, has begun exporting an increasing number of products overseas to regions and countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.

Recently, the brewery's Mishio Junmai Ginjo Ginnoyume won the gold award in the junmai ginjo category under the sake division at the International Wine Challenge 2018, hosted by a Britain-based media company in May.

“I am happy that our sake won the top prize,” Mishio said, smiling.

Junmai ginjo is a sake made from rice polished to 60 percent or smaller of its original size with no distilled alcohol added.

The brewery also captured the first-place gold medal in the junmai ginjo category of the Sake Competition held in 2017.

Sento had been focusing on sake, while retaining its traditional flavor, that would be preferred by women in their 20s and 30s who are not familiar with the rice wine. She had been researching the preferences of young women and developing new products together with Ryota from many years ago, aiming to spread the charm of sake.

Through trial and error, they carefully picked up on the kind of fermentation that goes with the features of brewer’s rice, and spent a great deal of time brewing it in seeking a unique flavor. They finally ended up with a sweet fruit-tasting sake.

Ryota came up with the idea of the Mishio Junmai Ginjo brand name and tried marketing it from 2014. The new product was highly evaluated, as was the label design.

Thus, Mishio became the brewery’s signature product along with its popular brand Tosa Shiragiku.

Their efforts continued to create Mishio Junmai Ginjo Omachi, which was launched in 2014. Mishio Junmai Ginjo Ginnoyume was marketed in 2015 followed by Mishio Junmai Ginjo Kita-shizuku in 2017.

Omachi, Ginnoyume and Kita-shizuku are all names of species of brewer's rice.

Each of the three Mishio series is priced at 3,500 yen ($32), excluding tax, for a 1.8-liter bottle.

“They have an exquisite and honey-like taste. It is similar to white wine,” Sento said.

Although the family is delighted with its most recent prestigious award, it also may have a new problem on its hands.

Mishio’s younger sister, Shiori, 4, started to complain, “There are my older sister’s sake items. Why are there not any that are mine?”

Miki showed her understanding as a mother, telling Shiori, “Maybe, we are obligated to create (Shiori’s sake) one day.”