Photo/IllutrationSake, Japan's traditional alcoholic drink, is served in ceramic bottles and cups. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

A solution for the age-old problem of drinkers’ boozy breath has been found, according to leading sake maker Gekkeikan Sake Co.--and it has been right under their nose for years.

The Kyoto-based company said Oct. 9 that it found its zero-sugar sake is less likely to cause the breath to reek of alcohol than most drinks, and it received a patent for the discovery on Sept. 21.

Gekkeikan set up two situations to compare in an experiment to prove the finding. In one, participants drank 600 millileters of “junmaishu” pure rice sake with 15 percent alcohol content, and in the other, participants drank the same quantity of sugar-free sake containing 13.5 percent alcohol.

Two hours later, the participants’ breath was tested for six major odor components. The result was the amount of those components present in the breath after drinking sugar-free sake was lower than when participants had drank the pure rice sake.

Furthermore, it found that odors created after the body had metabolized the drinks were less pronounced after consuming sugar-free sake than pure rice sake, according to the maker.

Gekkeikan was the first company in the industry to sell sugar-free sake in September 2008. As the drink has a bitterer and less sweet taste than many, it is popular with people who prefer “cho tanrei karakuchi” extra-dry drinks.

Gekkeikan said it plans to use the results of its research in future marketing of the sugar-free product.