WSET Sake Courses

There are many roads to sake knowledge. At least that’s what my Sake Today cofounder and worldwide sake educator John Gauntner is fond of telling me, and he’s right. By that he means there are multiple educational opportunities out there for sake. He encourages people interested in learning more to pursue the methods that seem…

Artisans of Technology

My connection to Japan started in the late 1980s, before I ever dreamed of travelling there. One of my first encounters involved three electronic music instruments that started regurgitating all the synthetic sounds I had come to love on my favourite electronic “Detroit Techno” records of that time: the Roland TR909 drum machine, the TB303…

Regionality in Japanese Sake

The Japanese archipelago, stretching far from north to south, east to west, has several distinct climates depending on the region. The people that live in those respective regions also lead different lifestyles, accounting for differences in food culture in particular. The unique character of those food cultures persists today and in similar fashion the flavors…

Issue 12: From the Editor

Late last month, the sake of Yamagata Prefecture was officially granted GI (Geographical Indication) status by the National Tax Administration. This means that they have secured the right to call their sake “Yamagata” sake, and that no one else can do that. This is similar in letter and spirit to putting the term “champagne” on…

Sake in 2016: By the Numbers

Export numbers for Japanese sake in 2016 extend a trend from the last few years, namely robust growth in demand for premium brands overseas. According to data released in late January from Japan’s Ministry of Finance, exports of Japanese sake reached 15.5 billion yen, the 7th year in a row of record numbers. Experts believe…

Issue 11: From the Editor

“Onko-chishin.” 温故知新 What’s old is new. There may be other translations and interpretations of the expression, but this is the most succinct and it applies in spirit to the sake world. Things cycle. Brewers experiment with new ingredients and methods. While some of those new things do end up being positive contributions to the craft,…

The Beauty of Sake

According to a recent survey by IDA Ryogokudo Co., Ltd., a company that produces cosmetics and beauty products, a significant number of Japanese (at least those that took the survey) didn’t know that October 1st is Sake Day. Which raises several questions, including: why in the world is a cosmetics company doing a sake survey?…

Issue 10: From the Editor

Sake and all that suffuses it is slowly seeping into mainstream media. The fact that there were three movies–all documentaries–about sake released over the past year is evidence of this. One of those is “Kampai! For the Love of Sake” (Japanese title: 乾杯!世界が愛する日本酒). It basically traces the “way of sake” or the path to sake…