Beers, Waters & Soft Drinks

When the pure taste of fruit prevails

Founded in 1952, the Nankaikako Co.,Ltd. company specialises in canning fruit, vegetable, and juice. Headquartered in Hidaka-Gun district in the Wakayama Prefecture of Japan, the company produces, among other things, an exquisitely refreshing Ume-based drink.

Although often translated as «plum,» the ume, which does indeed belong to the prunus genus botanical family, actually has a lot more in common with an apricot than with a real plum as far as its organoleptic properties are concerned. Going by the name of umé-no-mi in Japanese, this fruit is also used to make umeboshi, or pickled plums in English. This preparation involves macerating the plums in salt and flavouring them with red shisho. Ume extract is the standard flavour used in certain syrups but also in many sweets, chewing gum, and an entire range of very popular soft drinks. However, pure ume juice is very astringent on its own and must be treated with various sweetening processes to make it more palatable. The ume drink we are discussing here contains 10% fruit juice combined with fructose and dextrose, as well as acidifying and flavouring agents.

In terms of visual appearance, the juice presents a very light yellow hue and is characterised by an exceptional limpidity. As might be expected, the nose is marked by a dominant plum aroma that tantalises the senses with remarkable smoothness. However, this expressive aroma is tempered on the palate by a pronounced sweetness that counterbalances the natural acidity of the plum. The long-lasting and harmoniously balanced taste juxtaposed by the refreshing natural plum flavour inspired the Monde Selection Jury to award this ume drink a Grand Gold Medal.

“Each year, one product per category is awarded the Prize of the Jury as a token of excellence in know-how and quality. In order to qualify, the product must be unanimously selected as a “coup de cœur” by the jury members. The winner of the Prize of the Jury is then selected from a group of just 5 nominees, which makes this award an even greater honour for the recipient.”