Gekkeikan opened the first research institute built by a sake producer on January 10, 1909 , the Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute. The Institute was able to dramatically improve the quality of our sake thanks to the use of science and technology in brewing. Going beyond just local sake tasting contests, Gekkeikan exhibited sake at national-level expos and contests all over the country from the 1910s to the 1920s, and was awarded a number of famous medals from the industry. With the quality of our sake being objectively recognized at contests, the name of Gekkeikan spread nationwide.
In particular, the Japan Sake Awards (currently run by the National Research Institute of Brewing and the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association), where new sake from all over the country competed, were first held in 1911, and continue to this day. Sake brewers from around the country consider these awards the supreme achievement, bringing together the very best of their techniques to compete. Gekkeikan came first in the 1st Japan Sake Awards (which were then run by the Sake Brewing Laboratory of the Ministry of Finance), and in 1929 we dominated the top three places. These days, however, ranks are not disclosed.
After World War Two, Gekkeikan avoided competing in the Japan Sake Awards for some time, but rejoined from the 1980 brewing year, winning the Gold Medal that year. Since then, Gekkeikan's various breweries have provided candidates, and every brewery has won Gold Medals: in fact Gekkeikan has won more medals than any other sake maker in the country.