Sake News https://www.sake-news.com.au Your Saké event finder Sun, 14 Mar 2021 09:56:28 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 Event Recap: ‘Bounties of Nature’ Oita Foods and Sake Promotional Event https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/1160 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/1160#respond Sun, 14 Mar 2021 09:56:28 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=1160 Sake News was honoured to be selected to work alongside Oita Prefecture to showcase some of their outstanding sake, wagyu beef and regional specialties in Sydney NSW. Oita Prefecture is located on the east coast of Kyushu (Japans 3rd largest island) and is known as Japans #1 hot spring prefecture; but more than it’s natural […]

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Sake News was honoured to be selected to work alongside Oita Prefecture to showcase some of their outstanding sake, wagyu beef and regional specialties in Sydney NSW.

Oita Prefecture is located on the east coast of Kyushu (Japans 3rd largest island) and is known as Japans #1 hot spring prefecture; but more than it’s natural beauty, Oita produces some of the best tasting products in Japan with incredibly high grade wagyu, delicious yuzukosho, shiitake mushrooms and of-course robust, balanced and full bodied sake.

The challenge for Sake News was how to limit our selection when there are so many incredible producers.

The event began with the savoury and creamy egg custard made with dried Oita shiitake mushrooms and bonito stock, the dish is rich with the shiitake mushrooms adding a strong savoury, earthy flavour. It is amazing how much flavour a single piece of dried Oita shiitake mushrooms added to the dish.

Many people were surprised that Shiitake is grown on 15-year-old oak logs and when the grow cycle is complete the logs are returned to forest where they help fertilise the next generation of trees.

Our next dish focused on Oita wagyu beef, with a delicate yet flavourful beef tataki. It was remarkable to see the skill of chef Yoshinobu Harada as he finely cut the beef into thin slices, quickly grilled them until the surface was browned before they were quickly wrapped and placed in the freezer;. During the tasting serve the flavour was further enhanced with the addition of a slight amount of yuzukosho which added a fresh and spicy taste.

Throughout the event guests were served Oita sake, shochu and liqueurs; beginning with Chiebijin Junmai Ginjo with has a pleasant sweetness before showing some outstanding savoury umami, it is an excellent sake both to easily match with food or drink standalone.

The next meal was the only seafood dish with the Vongole pasta ranking as a crowd favourite for it’s simplicity and taste. The pasta is combined with dried powdered shiitake mushrooms, garlic and yuzokosho to flavour the clams; the dish is fresh, savoury and delicious. (yuzokosho is simply fantastic as an ingredient)

Another sake kura that was showcased was the 3rd generation Oita brewery: Senbazuru. Showing 2 of their Junmai using the traditional Yamahai and Kimoto methods. These methods rely on the lactic acid to be build up naturally instead of the modern method of simply adding lactic acid; not only does this take twice as long for the sake to ferment but it creates a more deep, fuller flavour which was certainly the case with both of these amazing sake (the yamahai narrowly etched out the kimoto as the crowd favourite).

Our final focus was on Oita’s legendary wagyu beef, the beef has a strong animal welfare focus and an exclusive rating of 4-5 (exceptional) with mouth watering marbling, texture that melts in your mouth and a general better, richer flavour. This was paired with Oita’s famous shochu- Iichiko mugi (barely); shochu can be drunk in a variety of ways but in this case we chose to serve it simply over ice with a small pour of water (it’s amazing how much impact a little water had on the flavour), there was citrus notes and clear heat from the liquor. It made for a wonderful pairing as it both added to be wagyu’s flavour and acted as a palate cleanser.

The event finished with a delicious sweet sumomo (type of plum) liquor by Senbazuru (Sato Shuzo) and a fragrant nashi liquor from Oimatsu Shuzo , both of these were delicious and were drunk over ice to help showcase their refreshing flavour. We absolutely love the many fantastic fruit liquors from Japan.

Finally we must thank the venue that so graciously hosted us, Restaurant Harada, Chef Yoshinobu Harada who expertly prepared all of our delicious meals, our guests and of course Oita Prefectural government who allowed us the opportunity to showcase the incredible products of Oita.

Kanpai, Daniel

 

OITA’S ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

IICHIKO (Sanwa Shurui)

Distributor: JUN PACIFIC CORPORATION PTY. LTD.
https://www.junpacific.com/

TOKYO MART SAKE ONLINE
https://sake-tokyomart.myshopify.com/

SENBAZURU (Sato Shuzo)

Distributor: SAKESHOP
https://www.sakeshop.com.au/

CHIE BIJIN (Nakano Shuzo)
RIEN NASHI LIQUOR (Oimatsu Shuzo)

Distributor: DAIWA FOOD CORPORATION PTY. LTD.
https://ichibajunction.com.au/

SAKE ONLINE
https://sakeonline.com.au/

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1 Oct – World Sake Day Special Sales – Australia wide https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/1124 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/1124#respond Wed, 30 Sep 2020 23:12:04 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=1124 October 1st is World Sake Day and marks the traditional start of the Japanese Sake brewing season. To help celebrate, Aussie sake sellers are having a special sale to help you get the best sake for the new season. Black Market Sake, A specialist importer of boutique, small batch sake with a strong focus on nama […]

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October 1st is World Sake Day and marks the traditional start of the Japanese Sake brewing season. To help celebrate, Aussie sake sellers are having a special sale to help you get the best sake for the new season.

Black Market Sake, A specialist importer of boutique, small batch sake with a strong focus on nama (unpasteurised), is having some of their favourite items on sale for 3 days only.

Our personal recommendations are the Uehara Shuzo: Soma no Tengu -a deliciously odd, floral sake with one of the best discounts in the sale and the Kameman Shuzo: Genmaishu – one of only 2 sake using completely unpolished (brown) rice, it is full bodied, full flavoured and unlike any other sake we’ve tried before (highly recommended).

Uehara Shuzo Soma no Tengu:

Nose: Fresh and lively, almond blossom, chrysanthemums; quite fresh and floral.

Palate: quite lively, there is a slightly sparkling, effervescent quality with a delicious, unique flavour, we picked up coconut water, floral notes and an underlying sweet fruit taste. An interesting, delicious sake and certainly one with a unique flavour profile.

Kameman Shuzo Genmaishu:

Nose: Soft, fresh baked bread, gentle spices and hints of cocoa.

Palate: the nose carries through, it has a rich flavour profile but the texture is lighter because of well maintained acidity; somehow it’s refreshing but with a rich, almost christmas cake like flavour profile. Outstanding.

 

Supersake, another boutique importer, Supersake work with some of Japan’s most awarded breweries, specialising in overall high quality sake, they are responsible for bringing in some of the most sought after brands to Australia. Supersake is having a 24 hour only sale for world sake day with 20% off all Japanese sake, simply add the code ‘NATIONAL SAKE DAY’ and you’re good to go.

If you’re stumped for a great pick, a personal favourite from Supersake is the Hourai Irootoko Junmai Daiginjo, it is an exceptionally balanced but still flavourful sake (the label is also very unique).

Hourai Irootoko Junmai Daiginjo:

Nose: Soft with light aromas of pear, custard and apple.

Palate: Very smooth with flavours of custard pear and soft stewed peach. Its a well balanced, tasty sake with mass appeal. Highly rated.

 

Sake Boutique brings in highly sought after sake, hand picked for their incredible quality and taste. For 24 hours only Sake Boutique has a 15% off sale, which couple with the fact they have (arguably) the best value for money, small batch daiginjo available, makes for a very easy decision.

Umenoyado Ghin Junmai Daiginjo:

Nose: soft stone fruit (peaches/ white nectarines)

Palate: very well balanced, it’s undoubtedly a smooth daiginjo and the tropical fruit and stone fruit notes add a layer of flavour without overpowering the balance of the sake. Again this is a brilliant example of a classic daiginjo for an unbeatable price.

Kampai,
Daniel

 

You may also be interested in:

World Sake Day – Kampai with Sake YouTube Live show

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Fundraising – Support Our Favourite Sake Maker Benten-musume https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/1119 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/1119#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 01:50:18 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=1119 Support A Sake Maker – Sakenet Australia Covid has hit us all particularly hard and it’s no secret that small, artisanal producers around the world are doing it tough. While the situation has been bleak for many, a silver lining has been the people rallying together to support those who need it however they can, with […]

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Support A Sake Maker – Sakenet Australia

Covid has hit us all particularly hard and it’s no secret that small, artisanal producers around the world are doing it tough. While the situation has been bleak for many, a silver lining has been the people rallying together to support those who need it however they can, with this in mind Sakenet has come up with a stellar concept to help one of Japan’s smaller breweries.

Sakenet -an independent, family owned company who while certainly not immune from the current situation, has chosen to try and bring something completely unique to Australia’s shores. They’ve chosen to support a small family owned and operated brewery who has been working with Sakenet from the companies very beginning, and is among the smallest Japanese sake producers (operating only 2 sake tanks), by raising funds for an Australian exclusive release of an entire batch of sake.

Benten-musume uses all locally grown rice and has just 6 employees (4 of which are family members), despite such a small team they produce an exceptionally versatile sake which is were the genius of Sakenet’s plan come in, while the standard junmai sake from Benten-musume is umami rich, with a richer flavour profile that warms beautifully (overall just an excellent sake), Sakenet proposes to have the batch on offer bottled at different stages -from arabashiri (the first 1/3 of a pressing) to an undiluted, unpasteurised nama-genshu; this will mean that we will get to try how the exact same sake changes in flavour by simply applying a different technique or resting age. As far as we know Australia has never received anything like this.

For any sake fans out there, this presents a not to be missed opportunity to experience the versatility of sake, we cannot stress enough how incredible it would be to see a sake, from the same batch bottled at so many different stages, showing so many variations of flavour and more so to our knowledge, this is the only program attempting to do this for Australia.

As a final note, our personal recommendation is the “Mixed Items Deal”, here you can personalise your own selection of items from each stage or bottling as well as your preferred bottle size which will allow you to experience every offering (Sakenet has also made sake as small as 180ml (starting as low $16) available which would make for excellent gifts or easy sippers).

We cannot wait for this wonderful project to be completed (we really really want to drink these) and more so wish the many struggling producers the best of luck during this tough period.

Kampai,
Daniel

How to support? Please visit the project page from here.
https://sakenet.square.site/support-sake-maker

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Local Saké store guide in Australia 2021 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/878 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/878#respond Tue, 12 May 2020 10:19:35 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=878 Whilst online shopping has meant we have access to more saké than ever before; there is always a place for our local stores, from expert guidance to having a physical range we can see and touch to help us decide which saké is right for the occasion. It is also incredibly important at the moment to […]

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Whilst online shopping has meant we have access to more saké than ever before; there is always a place for our local stores, from expert guidance to having a physical range we can see and touch to help us decide which saké is right for the occasion.

It is also incredibly important at the moment to support our favourite retailers however we can in these challenging times; otherwise we might lose our favourite stores and with them the saké we love to drink.

With that in mind, we have created a by no means complete list of as many great places to buy saké from as we could, including all of our personal favourites.

Click to jump to the State:
NSW
VIC
QLD
ACT
WA
SA
Australia-wide

If you are looking for online shops, your online Saké shop guide is here.

(Shops in A to Z order)

NSW

Bottleshop Mino / Sake Honda

A restaurant on one half and a bottle store on the other. Miho brings together an excellent selection of exclusive saké they import themselves and that are unlikely to be found anywhere else in Australia; all of their staff are highly knowledgeable and able to guide you through their selection plus they frequently have samplings so you will most likely get to try something new regardless. They are a 5 minute walk from St Leonard’s station and absolutely worth the trip.

Amabuki Junmai Daiginjo Banana Yeast: Amabuki saké is unique in that they specialise in using unique yeasts, usually from flowers; this particular saké -like its name, carries flavours of creamy banana as well as lychee and with a refreshing texture, it’s certainly a winner.

Store Address: Shop7, 9 Albany Street, St Leonard’s NSW 2065
Store URL: http://www.minomino.com.au/

Chatswood Cellars

With a large range of saké on offer from a range of importers and the ability to source bottles from smaller importers, this independent store is a great choice for anyone in the area.

Store Address: 282 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Store URL: http://www.chatswoodcellars.com/

Just Liquor Cellars

This independent store is a 2 minute walk from Ashfield train station (also delivers Australia wide) and has one of the best ranges of saké in Sydney; they have an extensive range from nearly all of Australia’s importers and always seem to have something new to try. Well worth a visit.

Store Address: 281 Liverpool Rd, Ashfield NSW 2131
Store URL: https://justliquor.com.au/37-sake 

 

Miracle Chatswood

A large Asian grocery located in the Mandarin Centre, Chatswood offering a great range of high quality saké including Hakkisan, Hassen, Dassai and more.

Store Address: Mandarin Centre, Ground Floor, 65 Albert Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
Store URL: http://www.mandarincentre.com.au/our-stores/miracle-supermarket

 

Orange Go

A large Asian grocery store offering a wide variety of saké including popular brands such as Dassai and Kiku-Masamune. Best of all they have 4 different stores spread out through central Sydney.

Orange Go Wolli Creek: Shop 6/6 Discovery Point Place, Wolli Creek NSW 2205
Orange Go Waterloo: 28 Crystal St, Waterloo NSW 2017
Orange Go Rhodes: Shop 1/7 Rider Blvd, Rhodes NSW 2138
Orange Go Ultimo: 531-533 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007
Store URL: https://orangego.com.au/

 

P&V Merchants

A quirky store in Newtown, Sydney which specialises in small batch, natural products. They have a fantastic range of Japans national drink from Black Market Sake and run great educational events which usually match 7 or more saké with local artisanal foods.

Store Address: 64 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042
Store URL: https://pnvmerchants.com/collections/sake

 

Red Bottle (Sussex St)

Red Bottle is a franchise with each store’s range varying significantly however the Sussex St store usually has an excellent saké variety to choose from with the manager being very knowledgeable. *Please Note, Red Bottle is transitioning to having their full range online however at the time of writing only a small number of their saké was available*

Red Bottle has 8 different locations (5 in central Sydney as well as Chippendale, Alexandria and Ultimo) each with a slightly different range.

Store Address: 374 Sussex St, Sydney NSW 2000
Store URL: https://redbottle.com.au/store-locations/

Sakeshop by Chef’s Armoury

A dedicated NSW store selling only exclusive, hand selected saké which are available nowhere else in Australia. They have a huge range ranging from fresh nama to aged koshu and run frequent tastings. Always a delight to visit.

Kaze No Mori Alpha Type 3: An absolute favourite of ours available only from Sake Shop; it is a nama-chozo (pasteurised only once) and junmai daiginjo (very top grade). This saké is definitely a newer style -clean and fruity with flavours of nectarine, lychee and green apple. Highly recommended.

Store Address: 105-107 Percival Rd, Stanmore NSW 2048
Store URL: https://www.sakeshop.com.au/

 

The Oak Barrel

Established in 1956, The Oak Barrel is one of Australia’s oldest liquor stores offering a range of unique products including an impressive range of rotating saké sourced from a range of different suppliers. Also worth noting is their regular saké tastings and events.

Store Address: 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000
Store URL: https://oakbarrel.com.au/sake/

 

Tokyo Mart Sydney

The Sydney store outlet for Jun Pacific. Tokyo Mart carries an incredible range of Japanese saké including being the official Australian importers of Dassai, Kiku-Masamune and Matsuura Honke. Without question, you will find a suitable saké here.

Matsuura Narutotai Nama Ginjo Genshu: A beautifully crisp saké, it is light and refreshing (with a slight effervescence), light umami and light stone fruit flavours with a fantastic finish. It basically has a little of everything in terms of flavour (in the best way) and is one of our favourites.

Store Address: Shop 27, Northbridge Plaza, 79-113 Sailors Bay Road, Northbridge NSW 2063
Store URL: https://www.facebook.com/tokyomartsydney/

 

VIC

Calia

A unique retail and dining concept centred on giving people access to premium (think caviar, A5 Japanese wagyu and toro (tuna belly)) produce (which thankfully includes some incredible Japanese saké) in a retail space and offer affordable fine dining (using many of the same ingredients) in the adjacent dining area.

Calia Chadstone: Ground Floor, Luxury Precinct Entrance, G041 Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone VIC 3148
Calia Emporium: Shop 8, Level 3, Emporium, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Store URL: https://calia.co/categories/sake?from=nav

 

Crown Asian Supermarket

A well regarded Asian grocer offering a range of quality saké including a range of “cup saké”.

Northland Shopping Centre: Shop w41, 2-50 Murray Rd, Preston VIC 3072
CBD Spencer Store: Shop T303, 201 Spencer St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
CBD Elizabeth Store: Shop 7/284-290 La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Eastland Shopping Centre: 1063/175 Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood, VIC 3134
Store URL: http://www.crownasian.com.au/ 

Fuji Mart Melbourne

The VIC store outlet for Jun Pacific. Fuji Mart carries an incredible range of Japanese saké including being the official Australian importers of Dassai, Kiku-Masamune and Matsuura Honke. Without question, you will find a suitable saké here.

Matsuura Narutotai Nama Ginjo Genshu: A beautifully crisp saké, it is light and refreshing (with a slight effervescence), light umami and light stone fruit flavours with a fantastic finish. It basically has a little of everything in terms of flavour (in the best way) and is one of our favourites.

Store Address: 34A Elizabeth Street, South Yarra VIC 3141
Store URL: https://shop-vic.fujimart.com.au/

Hinoki Japanese Pantry

Offering a fresh sushi bar with experienced chefs, this Fitzroy gem also stocks a wide range of Japanese grocery items including a great range of saké.

Store Address: 279 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Store URL: https://hinoki.com.au/

 

Nicks Wine Merchants

One of Australia’s biggest and best bottle stores; their online store is undoubtedly one of Australia’s greatest, with exceptional prices and while their physical store is more limited; it is always worth a trip.

Store Address: 10-12 Jackson Court, East Doncaster VIC 3109
Store URL: https://www.nicks.com.au/

Sakeshop by Chef’s Armoury

A dedicated VIC saké store selling only exclusive, hand selected saké which are available nowhere else in Australia. They have a truly outstanding range of saké ranging from nama (unpasteurised) to koshu (aged) and run frequent tastings and classes.

Kaze No Mori Alpha Type 3: An absolute favourite of ours available only from Sake Shop; it is a nama-chozo (pasteurised only once) and junmai daiginjo (very top grade). This saké is definitely a newer style -clean and fruity with flavours of nectarine, lychee and green apple. Highly recommended.

Store Address: 422 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121
Store URL: https://www.sakeshop.com.au/ 

 

Tan Hung Asian Grocer

A particular great Asian grocer with a huge range of saké on offer, it is a store that is well regarded in the Australian saké community perhaps due to the great variety offered.

Store Address: Shop MM003, 235 Springvale Rd, Glen Waverley VIC 3150
Store URL: https://www.boxhillcentral.com.au/stores/tan-hung-asian-grocer/

Tang Asian Food Emporium

A fantastic Asian grocer offering a huge range of saké and always seemingly busy perhaps due to their great prices.

Store Address: 185 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Store URL: http://www.tangfoodemporium.com.au/

Tokyo Hometown

An Asian grocer offering a particularly great range of Japanese alcohol which of course means a great range of saké.

Store Address: 41/45 A’Beckett St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Store Address: Shop 1, 440 Elizabeth St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Store URL: https://www.facebook.com/TokyoHometownJapaneseSupermarket/

 

 

QLD

Fuji Mart Gold Coast & Brisbane

The Qld store outlets for Jun Pacific. Fuji Mart carries an incredible range of Japanese saké including being the official Australian importers of Dassai, Kiku-Masamune and Matsuura Honke. Without question, you will find a suitable saké here.

Matsuura Narutotai Nama Ginjo Genshu: A beautifully crisp saké, it is light and refreshing (with a slight effervescence), light umami and light stone fruit flavours with a fantastic finish. It basically has a little of everything in terms of flavour (in the best way) and is one of our favourites.

Fuji Mart Gold Coast Shop 1, Southport Park Shopping Centre, Cnr Ferry & Benowa Rd, Southport QLD 4215
Store URL: https://www.facebook.com/fujimartgc/
Fuji Mart Brisbane Buranda Village, 264 Ipswich Road, Woollongabba QLD 4102
Store URL: https://www.facebook.com/FujiMartBrisbane/

 

Smile Mart

A smaller Asian grocer offering a number of different saké options and Asian alcohol.

Store Address:  2/83 Scarborough St, Southport QLD 4215
Store URL: https://www.facebook.com/smilemart.gc/ 

 

 

ACT

Plonk

This independent, family owned bottle store prides itself on their range of local and handpicked international items. Plonk have a smaller saké selection but offer enough variety to please local customers.

Plonk Belconnen Shop 27, Belconnen Markets, 10 Lathlain St, Belconnen 2617
Plonk Flyswick Shop 17, Fyshwick Markets, Cnr Nyrang & Mildura Sts Fyshwick 2609
Store URL: https://plonk.net.au/product-category/sake/ 

 

 

WA

Fuji Mart Perth

The WA store outlet for Jun Pacific. Fuji Mart carries an incredible range of Japanese saké including being the official Australian importers of Dassai, Kiku-Masamune and Matsuura Honke. Without question, you will find a suitable saké here.

Matsuura Narutotai Nama Ginjo Genshu: A beautifully crisp saké, it is light and refreshing (with a slight effervescence), light umami and light stone fruit flavours with a fantastic finish. It basically has a little of everything in terms of flavour (in the best way) and is one of our favourites.

Store Address: Shop 13-14, 29 Station St, Subiaco WA 6008
Store URL: https://www.facebook.com/FujiMartPerth/

Lion’s Oriental Foods Co

An iconic family owned store, headed by the legendary Sandra “Queen Of Sake” Gwee who has organised many of Perth’s saké festival as well as running Kodawari Sake Education. There is an extensive selection from some Australia’s biggest saké importers.

Store Address: 13 Fitzgerald St, Northbridge WA 6003
Store URL: https://sakeworld.com.au/ 

Tsunami

This outstanding Japanese restaurant is one Perth’s best sources of saké and saké events. Tsunami is a co-founder of Supersake and not only can you find their fantastic range available for takeaway sale but they also offer many nama (unpastuerised) saké which though available on Supersake must be picked up from here.

Miyoshikiku “You Cannot Kill Me” Tokubetsu Junmai Nama: A fantastic producer who’s sake have an incredible cult following both in Japan and abroad. Super fresh and fruity with flavours of pineapple, stone fruit and green apple.

Store Address: 18 Glyde St, Mosman Park WA 6012
Store URL: https://www.tsunamisushi.com.au/ 

 

 

SA

Little Tokyo

A fantastic central Adelaide Japanese grocer which sells a great assortment of Japanese products including Saké. Unfortunately, while they have a great range of saké ochoko and tokkuri (traditional cups and servers) available for shipping, actual saké is currently instore only.

Store Address: Shop 2A Central Market Arcade, Adelaide SA 5000
Store URL: https://www.littletokyo.com.au/

 

Homes Supermarket

New to Adelaide’s bustling Chinetown scene is Homes Supermarket, offering a range of sake and with an onsite bakery making daily fresh bread, a deli offering tasty, ready meals and a range of great speciality international snacks; you can find plenty of sakana (drinking snacks) to enjoy with your sake.

Store Address: 110 Gouger St, Adelaide SA 5000
Store URL: https://adelaidefoodcentral.com/2018/03/09/homes-supermarket/

 

Parade Cellars

An independent liquor store specialising in a great selection of wine, craft beer, spirits and sake. Parade Cellars currently has a great range of sake from Deja Vu including the ever popular Houraisen brand (if in stock we recommend the Wa Ginjo and Bi Daiginjo) known for their clean, fruity and slightly sweet flavour profiles, Houraisen has become of the most popular sake in Australia.

Store Address: Shop 15, Norwood place, 161-175 The Parade, Norwood, SA 5067
Store URL: https://www.theparadenorwood.com/listing/241_parade_cellars

 

 

Australia-wide

Dan Murphy’s

One of Australia’s biggest chain stores. They have an extremely limited range of saké in-store but thankfully offer a fantastic online range (see our note here). We are hesitant in recommending them but when there are no better options around and a saké is needed urgently (we know the feeling quite well) Dan Murphy’s offer a small selection that’s affordable and easily accessible. If you spot it in store the Houraisen Kasumizuki Junmai with its smooth texture, mild umami and light stone fruit flavours is a great choice.

Store Address: 215 outlets in Australia wide. Please check the website.
Store URL: https://www.danmurphys.com.au/spirits/sake

 

We hope this guide will be of use and of course, if you know of any great hidden gems where we can satisfy our saké obsession, please do let us know.

Kenpai, Daniel.

 

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Online Saké shop guide in Australia 2021 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/844 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/844#respond Mon, 11 May 2020 07:09:56 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=844 With every Australian saké event currently cancelled and local businesses desperately needing support to survive this tough situation, we have been thinking about how we can help both our community and the small Australian businesses which make saké in Australia possible. Firstly in regards to how we can continue to enjoy a drink and share […]

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With every Australian saké event currently cancelled and local businesses desperately needing support to survive this tough situation, we have been thinking about how we can help both our community and the small Australian businesses which make saké in Australia possible.

Firstly in regards to how we can continue to enjoy a drink and share a moment together while still remaining safe. We are actively looking at online tastings, writing more saké reviews and finding ways were we can continue engaging with all of you. There are already some wonderful resources including Black Market Saké’s posts describing different products in their portfolio, Australia newest saké set up with Melbourne Saké writing an excellent blog on their visits to some of Japan finest breweries and casual saké video chats on Australian Saké Enthusiasts. Please continue to stay safe and interact remotely.

While online shopping is more vital right now, truthfully the question of “where can I buy saké in Australia” is by far one of the most common questions we get asked in tastings and this guide will hopefully help answer that; we have also written about some of our favourite products if they are exclusively available at that particular retailer.

If you are looking for your local stores, your local Saké store guide is here.

(Shops in A to Z order)

Black Market Sake

One of Australia’s most exciting importers specialising in nama (unpasteurised) and small batch, artisanal saké. Their saké are found at some of Australia’s highest ranking restaurants and are arguably some of the most unique being produced.

Kidoizumi Junmai Ginjo Yamahai Nama Muroka Genshu: this exceptional saké has a spiced, “minerally” note alongside flavours of honeydew melon and red apple. The producer is highly sought after, including in Japan and is certainly a unique and delicious saké we recommend unreservedly.

Shop URL: www.blackmarketsake.com/
Warehouse location: Sydney
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Nabeshima, Akishika, Terada Honke, Hana Tomoe, Tae No Hana, Ine Mankai

 

Calia

A unique retail and dining concept centred on giving people access to premium (think caviar, A5 Japanese wagyu and toro (tuna belly)) produce (which thankfully includes some incredible Japanese saké) in a retail space and offer affordable fine dining (using many of the same ingredients) in the adjacent dining area.

Shop URL: https://calia.co/categories/sake?from=nav
Warehouse location: Melbourne
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Kumo, Kenbishi, Dassai, Toji, Dewazakura, Kinmon

 

Dan Murphy’s

Okay, why is one of the biggest store chains in the online section? Simply put after visiting countless Dan Murphy’s, the saké range is always extremely limited (best case being 6 bottles or so), however their online range is great with supplies from Déjà vu sake, Super Sake and several others; hence we only recommend them online.

Shop URL: https://www.danmurphys.com.au/spirits/sake
Warehouse location: Australia Wide
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Dewazakura, Hakkaisan, Tengumai, Horaisen, Yukinobosha, Nanbu Bijin, Daishichi, Senkin

 

Fuji Mart

The VIC store outlet for Jun Pacific. Fuji Mart carries an incredible range of Japanese saké including being the official Australian importers of Dassai, Kiku-Masamune and Matsuura Honke. Without question, you will find a suitable saké here.

Matsuura Narutotai Nama Ginjo Genshu: A beautifully crisp saké, it is light and refreshing (with a slight effervescence), light umami and light stone fruit flavours with a fantastic finish. It basically has a little of everything in terms of flavour (in the best way) and is one of our favourites.

Shop URL: https://shop-vic.fujimart.com.au/
Warehouse location: Melbourne
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Kubota, Jozen, Dassai, Kikumasamune, Gozenshu

Just Liquor Cellars

This independent store is a 2 minute walk from Ashfield (Sydney) train station and has one of the best ranges of saké in Sydney; they have an extensive range from nearly all of Australia’s importers and always seem to have something new to try. Well worth a visit.

Shop URL: https://justliquor.com.au/37-sake
Warehouse location: Sydney
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Dassai, Daishichi, Hakurakusei, Houraisen, Ippin, Imayo Tsukasa, Kitaya, Kenbishi, Kubota, Nanbu Bijin, Senkin

 

Lion’s Oriental Foods Co

An iconic family owned store, headed by the legendary Sandra “Queen Of Sake” Gwee who has organised many of Perth’s saké festival as well as running Kodawari Sake Education. There is an extensive selection from some Australia’s biggest saké importers.

Shop URL: https://sakeworld.com.au/
Warehouse location: Perth
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Hakurakusei, Senkin, Sawahime, Dassai, Nanbu Bijin, Hakkaisan, Jozen, Urakasumi

Nicks Wine Merchants

One of Australia’s biggest and best bottle stores; their online store is undoubtedly one of Australia’s greatest, with exceptional prices and while their physical store is more limited; it is always worth a trip.

Shop URL: https://www.nicks.com.au/store/other-categories/sake
Warehouse location: Melbourne
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Dassai, Juyondai, Akishika, Rumiko no Sake, Tengumai, Dewazakura

Orange Go

is a large Asian grocery store offering a wide variety of saké including popular brands such as Dassai and Kiku-Masamune. Best of all they have 4 different stores spread out through central Sydney.

Shop URL: https://orangego.com.au/product-category/liquor/japanese-wine/japanese-sake/
Warehouse location: Central Sydney
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Dassai, Ippin, Kubota, Jozen, Hassen, Hakkaisan, Nanbu Bijin

 

P&V Merchants

A quirky store in Newtown, Sydney which specialises in small batch, natural products. They have a fantastic range of Japans national drink from Black Market Sake and run great educational events which usually match 7 or more saké with local artisanal foods.

Store URL: https://pnvmerchants.com/collections/sake
Warehouse location: Sydney
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Hanatomoe, Nabeshima, Moriki Shuzo, Terada Honke, Kirei Shuzo, Akishika, Mukai Shuzo

 

Plonk

This independent, family owned bottle store prides itself on their range of local and handpicked international items. Plonk have a smaller saké selection but offer enough variety to please local customers.

Shop URL: https://plonk.net.au/product-category/sake/
Warehouse location: Canberra
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Ranman, Ippin, Shirakawago, Kizakura

 

Qantas Wine Club

There is a stellar selection of Déjà vu saké available at Qantas Wine. They range from the oldest saké brand in existence (Kenbishi) to one of the most popular saké that is consistently requested by people who will accept no substitute (Houraisen Bi).

Houraisen Bi Junmai Daiginjo: This is an ultra-fresh, delicate saké with flavours of lychee, yellow nectarine and a lingering sweetness. It is among the most popular premium saké in Australia.

Shop URL: https://wine.qantas.com/c/more/spirits/japanese/sake
Warehouse location: Australia Wide
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Dewazakura, Shichida, Yoshinogawa, Horaisen, Tengumai, Kenbishi

 

Sake Boutique

This small operation boasts an amazing range of saké including many award winning and hard to get producers. All of the products we have ordered have been of the highest quality with especially notable products from Imayotsukasa and Umenoyado.

Umenoyado Junmai Daiginjo: Umenoyado is a particularly famous brand, having featured in Kampai! For The Love Of Sake. The flavour is soft and smooth as expected from a quality daiginjo; there is also flavours of delicate stone fruit and best of all this saké has an exceptional price. Simply put one of the best value daiginjo around.

Shop URL: https://www.sakeboutique.com.au/
Warehouse location: Melbourne
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Katsuyama, Imayo Tsukasa, Ginrei Gassan, Koshino Kanbai, Kokuryu, Juyondai, Hakurakusei

 

Sake Connect

Run by the incredible, Australian saké educator Melissa Mills; everything on this website is hand chosen by an independent buyer (Melissa herself) to showcase the very best saké available in Australia from across all of the different importers; the only down side is there is currently no Australia wide delivery.

Shop URL: https://www.sakeconnect.com/
Warehouse location: Melbourne
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Kaze no Mori, Shichiken, Tamagawa, Terada Honke, Taiheizan, Senkin, Katsuyama

 

Sake Ichiban

This is the online retail store for JFC, a large saké and Japanese food importer who feature in many restaurants; they have an absolutely massive range and are always worth a look through.

Nanbu Tokubetsu Junmai: (The main brewery from the movie “Kanpai! For The Love Of Sake”) Incredibly smooth with flavours of lychee and apple. The finish has a mild umami that makes you go back for more. Delicious.

Shop URL: https://sakeichiban.com.au/
Warehouse location: Australia Wide
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Hakkaisan, Ippin, Nanbu Bijin, Daishichi, Tatenokawa, Urakasumi

 

Sake Japan

The online retail store for Daiwa foods, a large Japanese food and drink importer who specialise in several well-known brands including Choya umeshu and Kizakura.

Kizakura Junmai Daiginjo “S”: We have yet to find a cheaper, high quality daiginjo at this price point. This top grade saké is fresh and lively with balanced green apple, rockmelon and peaches.

Shop URL: https://sakejapan.com.au/
Warehouse location: Australia Wide
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Ranman, Yukinobosha, Kitanohomare, Kohro, Kizakura

 

Sake Online

Another outlet for Daiwa food with a similar range of products; we do however recommend having a look through both especially as sakeonline is a little more user friendly and there are occasionally items listed on one that are not on the other.

Ohmine Junmai 3 grain: Stylish, high quality Junmai made from Yamadanishiki. Silky smooth with a touch of sweetness of Muscat like a ripe tropical fruits. Finish is soft and delicate with a medium sweetness and very light, clean acidity.

Shop URL: https://sakeonline.com.au/
Warehouse location: Australia Wide
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Dassai, Ohmine, Seikyo, Tatenokawa, Horaisen, Kohro, Yukinobosha, Kizakura

 

Sakenet Australia

This small, family owned and operated importer specialises in traditional, more savoury and full bodied saké instead of the newer (more wine like) acidic and fruity new world styles. They have a proud goal of promoting this style of time tested saké, popular throughout Japans history and are our go to place for any classic, richer flavoured saké.

Taketsuru Junmai: Made by the extended family of the legendary Masataka Taketsuru who helped founded the Japanese Whisky Era as well as Nikka Whisky (though with a history well before either whisky); this saké is savoury with flavours of wood mushrooms but when it is gently heated becomes creamy and smooth. An absolute delight that we especially recommend trying at a range of temperatures (12C for Cold and 50C for warm).

Shop URL: https://www.sakenet.com.au/
Warehouse location: Sydney
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Hiokizakura, Taketsuru, Tamagawa, Taka, Tamazakura, Fusozuru, Bentenmusume

 

Sakeshop by Chef’s Armoury

A dedicated store selling only exclusive, hand selected saké which are available nowhere else in Australia. They have a huge range ranging from fresh nama to aged koshu and run frequent tastings. Always a delight to visit.

Kaze No Mori Alpha Type 3: An absolute favourite of ours available only from Sakeshop; it is a nama-chozo (pasteurised only once)and junmai daiginjo (very top grade). This saké is definitely a newer style -clean and fruity with flavours of nectarine, lychee and green apple. Highly recommended.

Shop URL: https://www.sakeshop.com.au/
Warehouse location: Sydney, Melbourne
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Yamamoto, Kaze no Mori, Toko, Kariho, Kirinzan, Daruma Masamune, Nagaragawa

Supersake

This website has a fantastic range of saké including legendary brands such as Senkin, Hourai and Imada, nearly all of which is available nowhere else. Every style of saké is represented and orders are shipped quickly and securely (worth mentioning though is nama is not currently available for delivery).

Hourai Hatsugumi Junmai Ginjo Nama-Chozo: selected as a limited yearly release by the saké maker, we are lucky to have this available in Australia. Creamy with flavours of stewed pear and stone fruit. Very tasty.

Shop URL: https://www.supersake.com.au/
Warehouse location: Perth
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Senkin, Gozenshu, Niida Honke, Imada, Taiheizan, Hourai, Yamada Shoten, Katsuyama

The Oak Barrel

Established in 1956, The Oak Barrel is one of Australia’s oldest liquor stores offering a range of unique products including an impressive range of rotating saké sourced from a range of different suppliers. Also worth noting is their regular saké tastings and events.

Shop URL: https://oakbarrel.com.au/sake/
Warehouse location: Sydney
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Hiida Honke, Yulli’s Brew, Bentenmusume, Taka, Jozen, Kubota, Akishika, Dassai, Hanatomoe

Tokyo Mart Sake Online

One of Australia’s largest importers of high quality Japanese products. Jun Pacific is a leader in their sake offering, having world famous brands such as Dassai, Kiku-Masamune and Shirataki. Their new website named after their Sydney store has a fantastic range of (obviously) sake, shochu, liqueurs, Japanese beer and even drinks ware.

Whilst there is plenty to choose from, a long standing personal favourite has been Narutotai Nama Genshu (unpasteurised & undiluted); a sake that is perfectly balanced, hitting the fine line between delicate and rich with the amazing ability to pair with any dish or simply enjoyed.

Shop URL: https://sake-tokyomart.myshopify.com/
Warehouse location: Sydney
Delivery Area: Australia Wide
Popular Saké brands: Narutotai, Zaku, Kubota, Dassai, Yuki no bosha, Izumibashi, Jozen, Okuizumo, Tenryo, Kiku Masamune

 

We hope this guide will be of use and of course, if you know of any great hidden gems where we can satisfy our saké obsession, please do let us know.

Kenpai, Daniel.

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Event Recap: Sake Matsuri Sydney 2019 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/699 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/699#respond Mon, 25 Nov 2019 09:40:08 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=699 Sydney’s biggest saké festival was back with this year’s event being one the best yet. Sydney’s Sake Matsuri 2019 featured more Toji and brewery workers than ever before with representatives flying in, as well as our favourite local Aussie distributors discussing the incredible taste, texture and unique qualities of Japanese saké. Sake Matsuri (matsuri meaning […]

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Sydney’s biggest saké festival was back with this year’s event being one the best yet. Sydney’s Sake Matsuri 2019 featured more Toji and brewery workers than ever before with representatives flying in, as well as our favourite local Aussie distributors discussing the incredible taste, texture and unique qualities of Japanese saké.

Sake Matsuri (matsuri meaning festival) was created in collaboration with 5 great Aussie distributors known as Nihonshu Australia (Black Market Sake, Déjà vu Sake Co, Sakenet, Sakeshop by Chefs Armoury and SuperSake) and Revel (the team behind many of Melbourne and Sydney’s great events such as Pinot Palooza and Mould: A Cheese Festival) to help sake fans try many high quality, unique saké’s all in the one place and encourage new saké drinkers at the same time.

Since the very first Matsuri in 2017, new distributors such as Jun Pacific, Daiwa foods and Bishu wine imports have joined the exhibitor team with the festival  getting bigger and better to showcase new and interesting saké’s to a rapidly growing fan base.

This year’s Sydney Sake Matsuri was held at the historic cell block theatre over 2 sessions, featuring saké from Black Market Sake, Daiwa Foods, Déjà Vu Sake Co, Jun Pacific, Sakenet and Sakeshop by Chefs Armoury, with food by the amazing team at Rising Sun workshop.

Before we could begin trying all the incredible saké, the team at Revel gave out the most important piece of drinking equipment, a drinking glass, in this case a beautiful stemless crystal glass to keep (included in ticket price). We quickly noticed that each table seemed to have at least 6 different saké’s and we were free to try any and all of them; with so many choices, we decided to begin with the rarest item on offer (so our palates were still fresh and it did not run out).

We began at Yoshinogawa brewery’s table who is represented by Déjà Vu Sake Co in Australia; we were met by Mr. Kunihiro Ono, a representative from Yoshinogawa brewery, who has flown from Japan to showcase his brewery’s historic saké (Yoshinogawa is the 8th oldest brewery in Japan); He kindly poured us a drink of one of the rarest saké we have had the privilege of trying, a special release 470th anniversary Daiginjo limited to 1,000 bottles worldwide; as well as answer a few questions.

Mr Ono, Can you please tell us a little about your brewery?

“Our Brewery is 471 years old, having started in 1548 and is the oldest brewery in Niigata prefecture. Our brewery is in Nagaoka area which is famous for its rice fields.”

Can you tell us why you chose to attend this event?

“We attended to support Déjà Vu Sake. Déjà Vu supports us in Australia and we really wanted to meet our fans here, too.”

What has been the most popular saké at your stand?

“The most popular has been the Yoshinogawa Shinkogura 7 year Daiginjo, maybe because it’s limited.” *laughs*

Is there anything you wish people knew about saké?

“Sake is matched with all food, I think it’s better than wine…sometimes. (laughs)”

Any final words you would like to share?

“Please visit our brewery to know more about Yoshinogawa Shuzo” (Yoshinogawa Brewery offers popular tours which are highly recommended)

Yoshinogawa Shinkogura 7 Year Old Daiginjo

(Due to its extremely limited production, we are unable to find anywhere outside of the festival that currently stocks this, we recommend contacting Déjà Vu Sake for more information)

This is an incredible saké made to celebrate a milestone few can claim, this ultra-limited saké was made from top grade Yamadanishki rice and aged for 7 years in -5 degree temperature to produce an incredibly smooth but very complex flavour. Only 1,000 bottles were made, of which only few remain.

Nose: mild creamy notes, delicate citrus fruits and rock melon.

Palate: Silky smooth- the fine texture is amazing, very balanced flavours of lychee and light citrus. There is definitely some depth too, likely from the ageing but nothing like traditional koshu (aged saké).

 

Our next stop was Tengumai saké by Shata Shuzo (also represented by Déjà Vu Sake); we were greeted by Mr. Hirohisa Ogawa and the future 8th generation Kuramoto (owner) Mr. Keiichiro Shata.

Can you tell us a little about your brewery?

“Our brewery is located in Ishakawa Prefecture, roughly between Tokyo and Osaka, facing the sea. It was established in 1823 and is still family owned even after 8 generations; the name means dancing goblin which was what the sounds of the forest reminded our original owner of”  -Mr Shata
 (The popular tag for the brewery is it’s so good even a tengu/goblin would dance after drinking it)

Can you tell us what made you attend Sake Matsuri?

“It is our first time in Australia. We wanted to experience Australia and see what Australians think of and look for in our saké.” –Mr. Ogawa

How can we grow saké’s popularity in Australia?

“We should develop better food matching and tell our breweries story with saké.” –Mr. Ogawa

What has been the most popular saké at your stand?

“Tengumai Yamahai Junmai, it was very popular because of its range of flavour, both hot and cold.” –Mr Ogawa

“Yes, Tengumai Yamahai Junami, I think it was because it has a unique technique and range of flavours unlike any other saké.” –Mr. Shata

Any final words you would like to share?

“People can try more (saké) to experience all of the different flavours.” -Mr Shata

Tengumai Yamahai Junmai -served room temperature

(Available for purchase through various independent liquor stores, Dan Murphies and Qantas Wine Club)

Nose: rice husk and rice porridge

Palate: smooth and textural. Not to dry and not to sweet, the balance is superb. There is umami and a mild brown mushroom flavour.

-Served Warm

Nose: light umami and gently heated vanilla.

Palate: even smoother than room temperature with a mild creamy flavour and a long finish.

 

Our next stop was Australia’s only dedicated sake shop (aptly named Sakeshop), where we spoke with Mr. Leigh Hudson, owner and saké educator. The Sakeshop stand featured many different flavours and varieties including a particularly interesting Junmai made with 2 ancient 1,000 year old purple rice strains which were brought back from extinction (Asamurasaki and Okunomurasaki) as well the always popular (as well as one of our personal favourites) Kaze No Mori Alpha Type 3.

Can you tell us a little about Sakeshop?

“Sakeshop was established 7 years ago and is Australia’s only shop dedicated to Nihonshu, Japanese beer and Umeshu”

How do you believe we can grow saké in Australia?

“More events like this and for people to more and understand it; a lot of people have only had saké for the first time today”

“I believe the 3 main steps are
; 1. Education
, 2. Tastings, 
3. Events”

What has been most popular saké at your stand today?

“Kuze No Mori Alpha Type No.3, it has a balance of sweetness and acidity, as well as a fruity character.”

Any final words you would like to share with saké fans and people who are new to saké?

“Some people say just drink Junmai, but I like to say “don’t be a Junmai wanker”, try lots of saké to experience different flavours.”

We could not agree more with the above, there are many incredible Honjozo and even Futsushu that are well worth a try but are often dismissed because they are not Junmai, in our view the best way to know if you like something or not is to try it.

Kaze No Mori Alpha Type No.3

(Available exclusively through Sakeshop)

Nose:  Filled with green apple, papaya and rockmelon.

Palate: Clean and smooth with all the fruity notes mentioned above. The saké is very complex but the clean balance makes it feel very approachable.

 

At this stage all the stands were very busy as several hundred people had arrived and were eagerly trying all of the wonderful items on offer. We spotted Shirataki Shuzo’s stand (represented by Jun Pacific) with a small gap in the crowd and took the opportunity to meet the current president of the brewery Mr. Shintaro Takahashi.

Can you tell us a little about brewery?

“Shirataki Shuzo is located in Niigata Prefecture; we have very heavy snowfall in winter so we have many excellent ski resorts. We use underground water which is very soft (low in minerals) as we make our saké to be light and smooth.”

Can you tell us why you chose to attend this event?

“We have been distributing our saké to Australia for 10 years and want to support our supplier in promoting it.”

How do you believe we can grow saké in Australia?

*laughs* “More drinking”

What has been the most popular saké at your stand today?

“Our most popular has been Jozen Mizunogotoshi Junmai Ginjo, it is light and smooth which is excellent for beginners”

Shirataki Jozen Junmai Ginjo

(Available in Sydney through Tokyo Mart and nationwide through various independent liquor stores)

Nose: very light and clean

Palate: Very clean and smooth, would work exceptionally well with food especially sashimi.

 

Our next stop was the Kiku-Masamune brewery’s stand. Kiku-Masamune is an excellent example of a popular brewery who is doing incredible things for sake education and tourism; they are based in Hyogo prefecture, a short trip from Osaka and run both a museum dedicated to saké as well as a fully functioning traditional taru (cedar barrel) factory (we highly recommend a visit to both).

Unfortunately the stand proved to be busy for us to get an interview; we did however try their excellent Taru saké.

Kiku-Masamune Taru Saké

(Available in Sydney through Tokyo Mart and nationwide through various independent liquor stores)

Nose: old damp wood/hay; the cedar is definitely evident

Palate: soft balance of cedar, light medium body and a delicious milky vanilla flavour. Really great.

 

The next stand we visited was by Sakenet Australia and featured a range of unique saké including the legendary Tamagawa Ice Breaker and a range of kan (warm) offerings. Sakenet has been instrumental in teaching Aussies about the joys of gently heated saké and countering the negative and false idea that only cheap saké is heated; as such they were the only stand were the majority of their premium saké were served kan (warm). We spoke with Rey Takahashi who is one the owners and former kurabito (brewery worker).

Can you tell us a little about Sakenet?

“Sakenet is a family business, it was started by my father so he could bring in the sake he liked for his restaurant (Yakitori Torisiya). We import and distribute sake, Shōchū, miso, shōyu, vinegar, and mirin. Our focus is kōji culture, which is the heart of Japanese food culture.”

Why did you choose to attend Sake Matsuri?

“We attend Sake Matsuri because it was our (Nihonshu Australia) idea to start this event and as a founding member we like to support it.”

What has been the most popular at your stand?

“Our most popular has probably been Hiokizakura Junmai-Ginjo Densho Goriki”

Is there anything you wish people understood about saké?

“I wish people would understand that sake isn’t wine. I realise that this is difficult as most of the industry professionals, from sake makers to restauranteurs, journo’s, educators, etc (in my opinion) treat sake like wine. Sake and sake culture has developed over hundreds of years with in Japanese food culture.”

Hiokizakura Junmai-Ginjo Densho Goriki –served Kan (warm)

(Available through Sakenet and various independent liquor stores)

Nose: very mellow, creamy sweet spiced rice porridge

Palate: really smooth with soft, sweet spices and a pleasant warming finish

 

Next on our list to visit was Daiwa Foods stand. Daiwa Foods is a premium importer offering a huge range of Japanese saké, Shochu, Umeshu (they represent the popular Choya brand) and foods. For Sake Matsuri, Daiwa had brought 2 brands with 10 different varieties; offering anything from smooth and mellow to crisp, fruity sakés. Unfortunately Daiwa was another stand where we could not do an interview however we did learn the most popular saké was the Ranman Funaoroshi Junmai Namachozo (Pasteurised once) Genshu (undiluted).

Ranman Funaoroshi Junmai Namachozo Genshu


(available through sakejapan and various independent liquor stores)

Nose: creamy rice husk with some banana like fruity notes in the background

Palate: initially creamy but then a fine acidity comes through that acts as a palate cleanser and there is definitely some fruity flavours but hard to pick out any specific fruits while the finish is pleasantly crisp and acidic

 

Our final stand is Black Market Sake, an importer specialising in Junmai only, unique sake and in particular Nama (unpastuerised) saké. They are well known among saké fans particularly for more unusual saké’s with unique flavours.  We spoke with Mr. Tim Watkins who was in charge of the Black Market Stand.

Can you tell us more about Black market sake?

“Black Market Sake was established in 2010 by Matt Young & Linda Wiss. At the time the availability of great Sake in Australia was very limited. Having extensively travelled throughout Japan for almost 20 years Matt understood that the successful future of Sake would rely on showing Australia the amazing potential of artisanal Sake and providing access to these wonderful products. Thus Black Market Sake was born.”

What made you attend Sake Matsuri?

“We have had the pleasure of participating in Sake Matsuri since its inception. This event has been vital in introducing sake to the wider market. There has been a growing interest in sake over the past 5-10 years, and festivals such Sake Matsuri have really helped continue this growth.”

How do you believe we can further grow sake in Australia?

“Here at Black Market Sake we have been involving ourselves in many public events involving sake, with the aim being to introduce/demystify this wonderful beverage to a wider audience. We regularly host public education sessions which has helped a lot of people become more aware and confident in expanding their interest and knowledge of sake.”

What has been the most popular at your stand?

“Hard to say but one of the most popular has been Chochin Shuzo Shinbushi 65”

Is there anything you wish people better understood about sake or any sake advice you would like to give our readers?

“My best advice is to try as much sake as you can! There are so many different styles of sake (from the cloudy Nigori, to sweet, savoury, aged ect.) Like anything our tastes are very subjective. We can be quick to dismiss a whole category of beverage simply by not liking one product. I’m confident there is a sake out there to suit most palates.”

Chochin Shuzo Shinbushi 65

(available through Black Market Sake and select independent liquor stores)

Nose: mellow herbal notes, clean with mild fruit notes

Palate: smooth, again there are some soft herbal notes as well as mild umami. A refreshing acidity introduces a fresh tropical fruit flavour. Excellent.

 

We must say a special thank you to all of the exhibitors and Revel for creating this incredible event, a place where saké fans new and old can come together and enjoy some of the best products available in Australia is something truly special. Thank you. Finally we hope to see all of our new saké friends at future events as we look forward to more saké.

Kanpai,

Daniel Zahrooni

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Event Recap: Art of Sake 2019 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/652 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/652#respond Mon, 04 Nov 2019 01:15:12 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=652 “Kampai! For The Love Of Sake” is one of the most iconic films about saké; (one that should be on everyone’s to watch list) It stars 3 iconic educators and brewers who speak about their saké journey and what made them fall in love with Japans national drink. Saké News was invited to a special […]

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Kampai! For The Love Of Sake” is one of the most iconic films about saké; (one that should be on everyone’s to watch list) It stars 3 iconic educators and brewers who speak about their saké journey and what made them fall in love with Japans national drink.

Saké News was invited to a special screening organised by the Consulate-General of Japan, JETRO Sydney and 8 Australian saké importers with a special guest speaker by the films starring Toji, Mr. Kosuke Kuji from Nanbu Bijin brewery; followed by a special saké tasting event.

The event was held at Palace Cinema in Sydney and once everyone was settled in, it began with a quick introduction from the Acting Consul-General Mr. Hideaki Matsuo, explaining the importance of improving international business ties, supporting the saké industry by reaching new markets and the success story of saké in Australia (last year alone saw a 12.6% increase) before lastly introducing 5th generation Toji and the films main star Mr. Kosuke Kuji.

Mr. Kuji took the stage smiling and overall seeming both humble and incredibly bubbly. He explained how excited he was when he was approached by the film’s director Mr. Mirai Konishi whose aim was to “make a movie that made you want to drink saké after watching it” (We would be lying if we said we don’t normally have a drink WHILE watching).

Mr Kuji from Nanbu Bijin Brewery (right)

The movie stars Mr. John Gauntner and Mr. Philip Harper alongside Mr. Kuji; beginning with a brief introduction into the everyday culture of the 3 stars, it shows each in their element with Mr. Gauntner teaching a seminar, Mr. Harper pouring saké at a drinks festival and Mr Kosuke Kuji travelling to London to educate consumers about Nanbu brewery.

The film seamlessly blends together the 3 different perspectives of a saké educator, an unexpected saké brewer and of someone born into a saké making family in what is a challenging time for saké. Each person’s story is unique and the movie fits in useful saké information without over complicating the story.

Mr John Gauntner is the world’s leading saké experts having written 5 books on the subject, been the only non-Japanese to sit on the ministry of forestry and fisheries panel and runs the Saké Professional course throughout the world. His latest book “Sake Confidential” is an outstanding resource for a comprehensive understanding of saké while still being beginner friendly.

Mr. Gauntner throughout the film presents the view of a saké educator and enthusiast. He tells us how he initially didn’t think much of saké (an all too common story with western enthusiasts), mostly drinking cheap saké warm at local small bars and how his saké journey really began at 1989’s new year’s day, at a colleagues house where he sampled 5 isshobin (large 1.8L bottles) and was “totally blown away” at the evolving flavour and depth.

We then learn how John transitioned to a saké professional through a fateful encounter with a Japan Times writer at a casual hanami (cherry blossom) party where a natural conversation about the different flavours and indeed quality of saké led to him beginning his education career by writing for Japan number 1 English newspaper.

Mr. Philip Harper is the first non-Japanese to ever earn the title of Toji after passing the Nanbu Brewers Guild Exam. He has over 28 years of experience working in numerous breweries including Umenoyado and is currently head brewer at Kinoshita Shuzo who makes the famous Tamagawa range.

Throughout the film Philip shows his dedication to saké brewing time and time again, he explains how a slow day usually starts at 6am and excluding meal breaks would finish at around 9pm, the sort of hours where you would struggle to watch a whole movie in one session

The most memorable story however, was when Philip was riding a bicycle to and from the brewery each day; one night out of sheer exhaustion, he fell asleep and rode straight into a river; he woke up soaked in cold water with his shoes floating downstream and his first thought was “oh no I’m going to be late for work”. When Philip arrived to work 2 minutes late everyone froze staring; his face was covered in blood as he had hit a rock in the river and not realised, when asked if he went to hospital he simply laughs and says “oh no, I washed my face and did the session of work”.

Tamagawa sake of Kinoshita Shuzo (left)

Our main star is Mr. Kosuke Kuji who throughout the films explains the challenges in being a legacy to the only brewery in town, especially the pressure of having everyone know you as the “son of the Kuji family, of Nanbu Bijin brewery”.

Mr. Kuji describes the beginning of his attempts to modernise the brewery for different flavours and concepts as “absolutely hellish”. While he received a great deal of support from the brewery’s former toji, Mr. Yamaguchi, he struggled with the older kurabito (brewery workers) outright ignoring his ideas and most importantly his father who kept reminding him of the brewery rules, worried that he was changing things too quickly.

A common theme throughout the movie is perseverance, while the perseverance to educate, learn and Mr. Kuji’s struggle in changing with the times is admirably present; it is the heart breaking moments mentioned about when the disastrous 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the comrades who were affected and lost, the local economy that was crippled, the struggle and the great effort and unity it took to recover from such a horrible event which really displayed the perseverance of the people and the brewers. It was a truly touching and heartfelt moment in the film.

Once again, “Kenpai! For the love of sake” is a fantastic movie which we highly recommend watching preferably with a glass of Iwate prefecture saké (like Nanbu Bijin).

With the movie finished we spoke briefly with Mr. Nobuhisa Tsuchiya from the Japanese Consulate about what inspired setting up this event. Mr Tsuchiya told us that it took over 3 months of planning alongside the 8 local sake importers/distributers to organise this event with the main goal being to continue to promote sake together as It’s particularly important for both connecting Australian businesses with Japanese importers and helping grow saké.

We really must thank all of the importers at this point for helping put this event together and will be covering each company in more detail in our future articles however for now would like to say a simple thank you to Black Market Sake, Daiwa Food, Déjà vu Sake Co, JFC Australia, Jun Pacific, Nippon Food Supplies, Sakenet Australia and Sakeshop by Chef’s Armoury. These events along with your passion are what continue to inspire people to learn, try and fall in love with saké.

We then arrived at a special area where many Australian saké importers had set up a special tasting, however for this article we will be focusing on reviewing the ones mentioned in the movie which are imported by JFC (Nambu Bijin) and Sakenet (Tamagawa) respectively.

 

Nambu Junmai Daiginjo

Nose: Incredibly aromatic with raspberry, strawberry, fresh floral notes, lychee and peach.

Palate: first impression is that it’s incredibly smooth, the texture is a little heavier which we like and the lychee and strawberry flavours carry through for a very long finish.

 

Nanbu Tokubetsu Junmai

Nose: clean with lingering lychee and apple.

Palate: wow, incredibly smooth with an amazing finish that has a slight umami flavour which makes you go back for more (we couldn’t stop ourselves from having multiple sips).

 

Tamagawa Junmai (served warm)

Nose: clean with rice pudding and fresh spring water notes.

Palate: Smooth with an incredibly warming finish carrying through a lingering flavour of gently heated vanilla.

 

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Mr. Kosuke Kuji and the Japanese Consulate for organising this incredible event and wish Mr. Kuji the best of luck in his quest to show the world the wonders of saké.

Kenpai, Daniel

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Event Recap: Discover Gifu Sake 2019 in Sydney – Trade show https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/616 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/616#respond Mon, 30 Sep 2019 09:09:19 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=616 We at Sake News were honoured to support for 5 incredible saké kuras (breweries) as they visited Sydney to showcase their saké and teach us more about Gifu Prefectures unique produce. Gifu Prefecture, is a landlocked area in central Japan which is fast becoming the destination of choice for many Australian and international tourists. Famous […]

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We at Sake News were honoured to support for 5 incredible saké kuras (breweries) as they visited Sydney to showcase their saké and teach us more about Gifu Prefectures unique produce.

Gifu Prefecture, is a landlocked area in central Japan which is fast becoming the destination of choice for many Australian and international tourists. Famous for its clean water, Hida Beef, mountain onsen, snow fields and of course incredible sake; the region is a figurative goldmine for travellers seeking adventure and traditional Japanese culture.

Our 5 producers (Tenryou Shuzo, Iwamura Shuzo, Miwa Shuzo, Komachi Shuzo and Yamada Shoten) brought with them a wide variety of locally made saké from Daiginjo, Sparkling and even the thickest Nigori (cloudy) saké being made; Mr Kenjo Miwa from Miwa Shuzo jokingly reminded everyone it wasn’t cream.

Tenryou Shuzo

We first spoke with Mr. Matasuke Uenoda who is the 9th generation owner of Tenryou Shuzo. Tenryou Shuzo was founded in 1680, originally selling saké alongside with everyday groceries before transitioning to exclusively saké in their Gero City brewery.

Mr. Uenoda said it was his first time in Australia and that Tenryou was excited to visit export opportunities due to the current fall in Japans domestic consumption; they are also focusing on creating better education and expanding to tourists with English brewery tours. We were lucky enough to try a number of saké including their new sparkling release which they flagged as an emerging market trend.

Our review will focus on their renowned Junmai Ginjo “Pride Of Hida”:

their Junmai Ginjo uses a local rice Hidahomare and 100% spring water and we must say the presentation is outstanding; wrapped in a beautiful straw weave.

Nose: very clean and balanced with soft floral notes; you can it’s a very smooth saké.

Palate: light and effervescent with a great mild umami flavour adding a bit of weight. The brewery suggests this with teriyaki and we agree.

 

Iwamura Shuzo

Our next guest was Ms. Kanako Shimada from Iwamura Shuzo who began by introducing us with their Daiginjo as she told us more about their breweries history; established 1787 in the small town of Ena with a strong value on using local products. Ms. Shimada explained Iwamura breweries aim of promoting saké in Australia and to help create more understanding of saké (we agree, the best way to learn is through tastings).

While Iwamura does have a focus on traditional saké flavours, they have also seen a market change recently and have released a premium Yuzushu (yuzu infused alcohol) using their breweries famous saké as a base. Yuzushu and Umeshu has surged in popularity however most producers use a spirit base since it’s cheaper.

Iwamura Yuzushu:

Nose: light and smooth; the saké base really brings out a fresh yuzu citrus aroma.

Palate: very smooth and mellow then finishing on a pleasant, lingering fresh yuzu flavour. Would be a fantastic aperitif.

 Unfortunately Iwamura Shozu does not yet offer tours (hopefully in the near future) but we would be reminisce in not mentioning their virtual tour available from their website.

 

Yamada Shoten

Our next brewery is one some Australian’s may already be familiar with; Yamada Shoten (established 1868) who was represented by their vice president Kazuhiko Yamada, this is because Yamada Shoten’s Tokubetsu Junmai is already available here through Supersake (we hope to see the rest of their range soon).

We were shown photos of the brewery when we asked if they offer any tours and while there is no English tours offered currently, Mr Yamada simply smiled saying they do not receive a lot of tourists as its “not a tourist area” and “just a river and a mountain”; the photos showed some of the most breathtaking natural wilderness we have seen, the scenery is absolutely gorgeous with clear flowing water and the lush greenery of the forest. Admittedly we all had a chuckle since our first thought by not a tourist area was it was an industrial area.

Yamada Shoten Tokubetsu Junmai “Everlasting Roots”:

Yamada Shoten is incredibly proud of their 150 year history, especially since everything is handcrafted and they only produce a small number of saké bottles a year; this Tokubetsu Junmai also uses local Hidohomare rice and is designed as something to match with everyday foods and flavours.

Nose: smooth and clean with a mild creaminess.

Palate: very mellow with a soft warming finish, dangerously drinkable.

 

Komachi Shuzo

Our fourth brewery is Nagara-gawa by Komachi Shuzo with the legendary Toji (brewer) Mr. Naofumi Kanetake taking us through their range.

Komachi Shuzo (Nagara-gawa is the main brand from the brewery and the one being represented) was established in 1894 in Kakamigahara city and has been doing some unusual things in its production since; namely that Mr. Kanetake plays soothing music (mostly by Tomio Miyashita) during fermentation, the idea being both to relax the workers and to allow for the yeast, a living organism to better ferment.

Mr. Kanetake also pointed out their Koshu (aged sake) from 1999, another incredibly unusual feat as Koshu even in Japan is a rarity; Mr. Kanetake went to explain that it is seen as expensive in Japan and is currently not very popular but even so because of the complex nature and unique flavour the brewery have been making Koshu for over 30 years now.

Komachi brewery is open to visitors but sadly due to their small size do not currently offer English guides; they are however available to purchase in Australia exclusively from premier saké seller Sakeshop.

Nagara-gawa 1999 Koshu

:

Nose: lots of umami, mushrooms, fruity saké notes hinting acidity.

Palate: thick and oily; almost like an incredibly light whisky. There’s plenty of umami and fine acidity cuts through the intensity.

 

Miwa Shuzo

Our final guest representing Miwa Shuzo is owner Mr. Kenjo Miwa.

Miwa Shuzo established in 1837 in Ogaki City is unique in having 90% of their production dedicated to Nigori, something they started over 40 years ago but is only recently becoming more popular as a style.

Miwa Shuzo’s focus on Nigori originally started when the mayor of Shirakawa village asked the 6th Toji if he could create a cloudy saké that could be drunk at any time of the year, however Nigori saké at the time was not allowed to be sold under Japans liquor tax laws; it is only through determined negotiations and lobbying that the tax board relented and allowed Nigori sales. In celebration Shirakawa village authorised the name of their village for use as the brand for Miwa Shuzo’s Nigori saké.

Shirakawa Junmai Ginjo Nigori:

The most popular Nigori in Japan.

Nose: lactic, rice porridge.

Palate: again lots of lactic notes, quite a rich texture with a pleasant sweet finish.

Miwa shuzo do offer tours but not with English guides (they hope to in the near future) but thankfully their saké is available from Sydney’s Tokyo Mart and select retailors through distributor Jun Pacific.

 

At this point we must thank our venue, the amazing Tokyo Laundry in Circular Quay, they very kindly let us use their restaurant and presented what was without exaggeration the best range of snacks to go with the incredible saké being poured. The Yakitori paired incredibly well and was absolutely delicious.

We would like to once again thank all of the amazing producers for flying all the way to Australia to teach us more about their incredible products and our guests who attended and support the Australian saké scene.

We can safely say the range and quality of saké coming from Gifu Prefecture is second to none; we are especially excited to see so many producers focusing on using local ingredients like Hidahomare rice while still creating so many different styles and flavours.

Kanpai, 
Daniel

 

All images ©️Sake News

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Sip Of Sake, a new & exciting gateway to the world of sake https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/576 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/576#respond Tue, 17 Sep 2019 03:05:27 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=576 The Sydney Sake Society has recently debuted a new & exciting gateway to the world of sake called Sip Of Sake. They will be showcasing the best sake breweries Japan has to offer. The first brewery they introduce is Yaegaki Sake & Spirits, which boasts over 350 years of sake-brewing history & located in picturesque […]

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The Sydney Sake Society has recently debuted a new & exciting gateway to the world of sake called Sip Of Sake.

They will be showcasing the best sake breweries Japan has to offer. The first brewery they introduce is Yaegaki Sake & Spirits, which boasts over 350 years of sake-brewing history & located in picturesque Himeji city. They are famous for their signature smooth tasting & food-friendly sake. Read more about the brewery here.

Also, with the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan just days away, they’ve created a short YouTube video & blog series (filmed at Gold Class Daruma) to help cheer on the Wallabies & to help fans understand the sometimes difficult-to-decipher rules & customs at Japanese pubs (known as izakaya) like chopstick etiquette.

The first six videos in the series can be found here:

If you enjoyed those videos be sure to follow them on YouTube.

You can also follow them on Instagram & Facebook.

Images ©️Sydney Sake Society

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The Sydney Saké Society at the Giant Steps Chinese New Year Banquet https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/448 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/448#respond Sun, 10 Mar 2019 11:52:16 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=448 Sydney’s local sake-lovers community organisation the Sydney Saké Society was recently a sponsor of Giant Steps Australia’s Chinese New Year Banquet at Marigold Restaurant in the city last Saturday the 2nd of March 2019. The society hosted a welcome drinks bar where guests could have a glass of CHOYA umeshu (plum wine) and a variety of soda […]

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Sydney’s local sake-lovers community organisation the Sydney Saké Society was recently a sponsor of Giant Steps Australia’s Chinese New Year Banquet at Marigold Restaurant in the city last Saturday the 2nd of March 2019.

The society hosted a welcome drinks bar where guests could have a glass of CHOYA umeshu (plum wine) and a variety of soda cocktails upon arrival. They also donated two gifts to the banquet; a limited edition CHOYA Ume Liqueur 2005 10-year vintage, and a privately held saké masterclass session.

In the end, the Sydney Sake Society managed to raise a total of 1,950 dollars for Giant Steps Australia on the night through the two gifts which were auctioned off that night by MC Mr Stephen Choy. Guests also appeared to really enjoy the umeshu and cocktails on offer. It was a great example of sake being introduced to new audiences at an event one otherwise wouldn’t expect it at.

Giant Steps is a registered charity that provides much needed support for children and their families with autism.  They established their first school in Gladesville back in 1995 and a few years ago they also opened a school in Melbourne.  As a testament to their ongoing commitment to providing the best possible care, they were awarded the Special Needs School of the Year at the 2018 Australian Education Awards.

Images ©️Sydney Sake Society

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First in Australia! Sake News: a media outlet presenting events and news about sake https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/350 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/350#respond Sat, 15 Dec 2018 03:31:30 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=350 On the 1st of September 2018, JAMS.TV Pty Ltd started the web media site Sake News. The site presents information on events and news related to sake, people in the sake industry and sake companies all revolving around the Australian market. The total monetary value of Japanese sake into the Australian market came to roughly […]

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On the 1st of September 2018, JAMS.TV Pty Ltd started the web media site Sake News. The site presents information on events and news related to sake, people in the sake industry and sake companies all revolving around the Australian market.

The total monetary value of Japanese sake into the Australian market came to roughly $4.4 mil AUD in 2016. In 2017 this rose to roughly 4.85 mil AUD – or a roughly 2-fold increase from six years prior. The popularity of Japanese sake in Australia is ever increasing, along with Japan’s other popular exports; in tourism, cuisine and subcultures like anime.

Looking from a perspective of Australia’s successful economic climate, a large social class of high-income earners, its increasing population due to changes in immigration policies and the increase in Japanese restaurants amongst other, aforementioned influences from Japan, the market for sake is expected to experience stable growth in the coming years. However, there was a general dearth of media sources specialising in the topic of sake at the time, and the need for a Australian-regionalised sake media distribution channel had been constantly rising with the trends.

A look at the recent culture and market trends of Australia show;

  • An increase in Japanese restaurants (also entailing an increase in restaurants dealing in sake)
  • An increase in sake related events
  • The expansion of sake imports into Australia (From both Japan-based and other countries’ breweries)
  • A general increase in the popularity of sake due to increases in Australian tourists visiting Japan
  • The increasing incorporation of Japanese sake into local restaurant menu options

 

Sake News is a media outlet that strives to increase the number of sake lovers in Australia by acting as a one-stop source of information for local readers on sake info and events going on both in and outside the country.

Readers are able to view events categorised into their region; for instance sake tasting meets, food-matching events, sake-related certification courses, gatherings and more – Sake News acting as a way to help readers enjoy more sake in their daily lives. Along with event posts, the site also features articles relating to the sake industry, be that of interviews with central figures in the Australian sake realm or activity reports on local sake-related organisations, readers will be able to increase their knowledge of local sake industry comings and goings.

We hopes that many people will take an interest in sake, and start to enjoy it more day-to-day.

 

For those wanting an event or notification featured on Sake News, please make an enquiry to the below contact addresses:

Sake News Enquiries

Saké News ~ Your Saké Event Finder ~
URL:https://www.sake-news.com.au
Contact
:Tsuyoshi Endo (Yoshi)
TEL: +61 2 9252 6307
Email Address:info@sake-news.com.au

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Comic-Tie-in ‘Shima Kosaku’ – Charity Edition Sake from Dassai now on sale! https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/286 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/286#respond Fri, 16 Nov 2018 21:02:41 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=286 A series of floods and mudslides caused by torrential rains devastated extensive areas of western Japan in July. Popular sake maker Asahi Shuzo are amongst those affected. Their brewing facilities in Iwakuni city, Yamaguchi Prefecture suffered heavy damage under the extreme conditions – an overflowing river submerging the brewery in 70cm of water, followed by […]

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A series of floods and mudslides caused by torrential rains devastated extensive areas of western Japan in July. Popular sake maker Asahi Shuzo are amongst those affected. Their brewing facilities in Iwakuni city, Yamaguchi Prefecture suffered heavy damage under the extreme conditions – an overflowing river submerging the brewery in 70cm of water, followed by a three day long power outage. As a result, roughly 700,000 bottles became unsuitable for shipment under their Dassai brand-name – long seen as a high-quality, premium sake brand both in Japan and in overseas markets.

Flood conditions in Yamaguchi Prefecture (©️Kyodo)

 

Dassai x Kacho Shima Kosaku

It was then that famous Japanese comic book author Kenshi Hirokane, widely known for his series “Kacho Shima Kosaku” (Section Manager Shima Kosaku), suggested a collaboration venture – in which the affected sake would be sold under the comic books brand-name. Dassai took him up on this offer, and the Shima Kosaku Charity Edition sake was created. The idea being that whilst the disaster-affected sake bottles were not up to the standard of the Dassai brand, they had still maintained a quality flavour representative of a Junmai Daiginjo style sake that was not to be wasted.

 

Kacho Shima Kosaku – a famous ‘manga’ (comic book) about the day-to-day business life of corporate section manager Shima Kosaku

 

What’s in the Shima Kosaku Edition bottle

Each bottle of Kacho Shima Kosaku will contain at random one of the four sake below;

  • Dassai Junmai Daiginjo, 50%
  • Dassai Junmai Daiginjo, 39%
  • Dassai Junmai Daiginjo, 23%
  • Dassai “Sono saki e” (Beyond)

For every bottle sold, part of the proceeds of sales will be donated to the areas of Japan affected by the disaster. Asahi Shuzo is not a firm unfamiliar with this kind of venture, having in the past made monetary donations of more than JPY150 million to those who had suffered from similar disaster such as the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011 and the Kumamoto Earthquake in April 2016.

 

Where you can buy

You can buy Dassai Shima Kosaku Edition Sake nation-wide:

  • Sydney: Tokyo Mart, Shop 27, Northbridge Plaza, 79-113 Sailors Bay Rd, Northbridge NSW 2063
  • Gold Coast: Fuji Mart, Shop 1, Southport Park Shopping Centre, Cnr Ferry & Benowa Rd, Southport, QLD 4215
  • Brisbane: Fuji Mart, Buranda Village 264 Ipswich Road Woollongabba, Brisbane, QLD 4102
  • Melbourne: Fuji Mart, 34A Elizabeth Street, South Yara, VIC 3141
  • Perth: Fuji Mart, Shop 13-14/29 Station St, Subiaco, WA 6008

Retail price: $32 per bottle

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Event Recap: Sake Matsuri Sydney 2018 – A Sake Festival for the Ages https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/169 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/169#respond Tue, 23 Oct 2018 11:03:03 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=169 The 2018 Sydney Sake Matsuri was held just this past Saturday at The Commune in Waterloo. With attendees numbering in the hundreds, a handful of the largest Australian sake importers and a couple brewery representatives directly from Japan presented the sake of a variety of Japanese breweries, as well as a pop-up by Barangaroo-based Japanese […]

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The 2018 Sydney Sake Matsuri was held just this past Saturday at The Commune in Waterloo. With attendees numbering in the hundreds, a handful of the largest Australian sake importers and a couple brewery representatives directly from Japan presented the sake of a variety of Japanese breweries, as well as a pop-up by Barangaroo-based Japanese fine-dining restaurant Fujisaki handling food duties, it has been one of the largest-scale sake-tasting events held in Australia in recent years, and a sign of greater things to come in the still growing industry.

A dozen stalls had been set up in the warehouse-venue – one or two each for Australian sake importers Sake Shop, Sakenet Australia, Deja Vu Sake Co, Black Market Sake and Bishu Wine Imports as well as general food importers Jun Pacific and Daiwa Food Corporation. Festivalgoers, encompassing both men and women in great numbers, and across a wide range of age groups, were treated to a large number of sake’s from breweries all across Japan, with different varieties showcasing the broad flavour spectrum of the beverage and the humble rice grain it sources from – some simply enjoying the festivities with friends, others taking on a more inquisitive approach to the tastings.

Along with the standard purified Ginjo and Daiginjo sake’s that have grown in mainstream popularity in recent years, there were also cloudy-sweet nigorizake’s, malty red-rice varieties, the rare aged koshu, warm sake – heated to create more nuanced flavours, and some sparkling types reminiscent of a glass of bubbly, all served in one’s choice of a classic stemless Plum wine glass or a more traditional ochoko – very similar to a shot glass.

Nonetheless, one must remember that sake is fundamentally a sipper’s beverage. In regards to the method of traditional sake tasting, one takes in the aroma coming off the top of the vessel – usually the wine glass is used for room-temperature and cold sake, and the ochoko for warmer varieties, before taking a generous sip and savouring the delicate flavours within. Also, it is important to note that the order of drinking goes from lighter, more delicate sake to heavier-tasting ones later on – so as not to overwhelm the flavours of the former.

With sake-tastings winding down around the afternoon, many people decided to purchase a bottle or two of their sake – tasting booths offering the entire tasting range, plus some other exclusive sake’s, bottled and ready to go home. A couple of attendees were seen leaving with ten-plus bottles in tow.

Overall, the 2018 Sydney Sake Matsuri has been an exciting event – as a space for sake lovers in Sydney to gather together and celebrate the beverage, and acting as a point of exposure for first-timers and those less familiar with the beverage to experience its flavours and history, as well as being an important promotional step in continuing the penetration of sake imports into the general Australian alcohol market.

By: Angel Lopez-Andrade (Sake News)


©️Jun Pacific


©️Bishu Wine Imports


©️Sakenet Australia

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The future of Sake in Australia – interview with Yukino Ochiai of Deja Vu Sake Co https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/151 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/151#respond Fri, 19 Oct 2018 01:05:53 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=151 When one goes to the liquor corner in stores like David Jones and Dan Murphy, they may find a wide range of Japanese sake’s on display. However, in a country that produces a very large amount of wines and beers, it would take a lot of work to get these sake’s on the shelves. Today, […]

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When one goes to the liquor corner in stores like David Jones and Dan Murphy, they may find a wide range of Japanese sake’s on display. However, in a country that produces a very large amount of wines and beers, it would take a lot of work to get these sake’s on the shelves.

Today, we’ll be talking with Ms. Yukino Ochiai, an importer of sake into Australia. Taking pride in Japan’s food and drink cultures, last year she entered the aptly titled work-post of “sake samurai”. She is also an experienced sake professional; holding a “sake educator” qualification from the global wine-connoisseur body WSET, and is currently holding regular educational seminars with the goal of assisting the further diffusion of sake in Australia. Ms. Ochiai tells us about her experiences in the alcohol industry up till now, some of her anecdotes relating to sake, and the state of the ever-growing global sake market in the near future.

Ochiai: My first foray into the alcohol industry was with wine. A few months after I arrived in Australia, my father starting getting involved with a winery – Cassegrain Wines, in Port Macquarie. In order to save up funds for my daily life and student fees, I too, took on a part time job with the company on his recommendation – my first time working with alcohol. Working there for three years, I was later headhunted by the Rosemount Estate winery, which then combined into a joint venture with Southcorp Wines.

A few years later, after a work-break (details omitted), I found myself working at the fashion firm, Helen Kaminski. During this period, I took many business-related trips to Japan, along with my husband Andrew – at the time a general importer of various wines. It was in fact not me, but Andrew, that first took a deeper interest in sake and importing it into Australia – finding a special side to sake that I, as a native of Japan, could not. From there on we took many trips to sake breweries in Japan, visiting brewers and establishing relations. Unlike most other Australian importers, we had a desire to import sake just like wine, as specialists – without any other relatively extraneous, fermentation-related products such as Miso or soy sauce that would only raise costs. In July 2012, we would start the Deja Vu Sake Company.

Did you know that there are many aspects to drinking sake? First you observe the colour and take in the scent. When it goes into your mouth, you notice the body, the flavour and the finish. Finally, in more detail, you see whether the flavour comes in in the beginning, middle or end. Sommeliers often taste wines using rather complex methods like this – so when they make statements like “this is a very rounded wine”, the layman ends up confused.

Unlike in Japan, it is often necessary when explaining the finer details of sake to Australians, to use the same explanation process as that of wine tasting. For instance, describing a sake as “fruity”, and likening it to say, bananas or citrus, explaining why it is likened to such fruits, and discussing whether it is light or heavy-bodied.

It is also important to distinguish between dry and sweet sake’s. However, in contrast to wine, the fundamental character of sake lies on the sweet side, so that the possible range of measurement is rendered much narrower – the words “dry” and “sweet” entail different things between the two beverages. “Dry” for wines refers to a relative balance of tannins and acids – a wine gets drier as its tannins increase. On the other hand, sake has a certain sharpness to its flavour that is largely absent from wines and functions as its own unique basis of flavour measurement.

The discussion around food-pairings is also interesting. With wine, the general rule is said to be whites with fish and reds with meat. For sake though, personally, I like to have it with just about anything that isn’t spicy. The affinity with cheese, for instance, I think is lovely, or even with pizza.

I think the current forerunning city outside of Japan for sake is New York. Historically, Americans were notably some of the earliest people to import sake, and nowadays they are one of the larger producers in the world of sake domestically. After there would come London I think.

In contrast, regardless of Australia’s history being rather short and its population of sake-lover’s being relatively low, the drink has managed to enter households relatively quickly, also commanding a high demand in the gift market, and becoming ingrained in not only local Japanese restaurants, but also those of other cuisines. Thus, I think that the hidden potential of sake in the Australian market is high.

Australians have a tendency to be fond of new things. Recently, the number of tourists visiting such ski sites as Niseko and Hakuba has increased. After going back to the hotel, a lot of Australians like to partake in some Japanese cuisine with a glass or two of atsukan (warm sake). Sometimes I witness Australians (or other tourists) asking to heat up a glass of higher-quality sake. As heating up is usually reserved for lesser sake’s, I am a bit surprised, but I think that even so, we should promote the practice as a part this current period of rapidly expanding sake categories – without nit-picking on details, creating enjoyable memories drinking sake. I’m looking forward to the day Australians would warm up with a glass of sake in front of their TV’s with a box of pizza.

Whilst when we started operations a few years ago, not many people knew about sake, nowadays it is a relatively well-known product in both the Australian, and the wider Western alcohol market. In the global-scale International Wine Challenge held annually in London, a sake category was added in a historic move in 2007 – it is now the largest sake rating event held outside of Japan. Many Japanese brewers associations are also joining in, with a shift in operations in recent years in order to promote the increased global expansion of sake. I too have decided to assist in the expansion, joining in on the contest as a judge from 2016. As a so-called sake samurai, I hope to continue the widespread promotion of Japanese sake, especially here in Australia.

Deja Vu Sake Co.

Interviewer: Naohiro Tokuda (JAMS.TV)、Yuka Murata (JAMS.TV)
Photographer: Naohiro Tokuda (JAMS.TV)
Translator: Angel Lopez-Andrade (Sake News)

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New Limited-Edition Sydney Saké Society Posters on Sale Now! https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/111 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/111#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 06:30:38 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=111 The Sydney Saké Society, together with Sydney’s premier digital print house, Carbon8, have teamed up to create three very special limited-edition posters celebrating our love for Japan’s national brew. The A3-sized posters, designed by Sydney Saké Society’s award-winning Head of Design, Mr Kevin Teh, feature a bespoke typeface and are proudly made right here in Sydney. Only 50 copies of […]

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The Sydney Saké Society, together with Sydney’s premier digital print house, Carbon8, have teamed up to create three very special limited-edition posters celebrating our love for Japan’s national brew.

The A3-sized posters, designed by Sydney Saké Society’s award-winning Head of Design, Mr Kevin Teh, feature a bespoke typeface and are proudly made right here in Sydney.

Only 50 copies of each poster are available and they come in three fun & elegant designs:

  • Kampai!
  • Nihonshu
  • Warm Cold

We suspect these posters would be the perfect gift for the hard-to-please saké-loving special someone in your life or perhaps it’s time to treat yourself?!?

Check out Sydney Saké Society’s new online store to grab some before they’re all sold out: https://www.sydneysakesociety.com/store/

Kampai!

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Sydney Saké Society are Finalists for the AGDA Design Awards 2018! https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/93 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/93#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 03:13:26 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=93 The Sydney Saké Society was thrilled & honoured to find out that we were chosen as a finalist in TWO (!!) categories for the prestigious ADGA Design Awards 2018.  AGDA is the peak national organisation representing the Australian communication design industry. The Sydney Saké Society are finalists in the following categories: Branding – Small Business & Typefaces. Many thanks & congratulations must […]

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The Sydney Saké Society was thrilled & honoured to find out that we were chosen as a finalist in TWO (!!) categories for the prestigious ADGA Design Awards 2018.  AGDA is the peak national organisation representing the Australian communication design industry.

The Sydney Saké Society are finalists in the following categories: Branding – Small Business & Typefaces.

Many thanks & congratulations must go to our brilliant Head of Design, Mr Kevin Teh, who is the creative genius behind our branding & identity. Below, Kevin gives some insight into his design ethos:

“Since Sydney Saké Society is geared towards a non-Japanese audience, we decided to omit kanji (Chinese characters) to remove the language barrier & use custom letterforms integrated with graphics to represent the characteristics of saké in a succinct & playful manner”

Kevin & Co-Founder, Mr Jason Khoh, will be going to the Awards Weekend (Nov 9-11) which will be held in Melbourne’s Peninsular, a former loading shed on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour, now fully converted into a spectacular venue of industrial elegance, modeled on London’s Tate Modern.

If you’re also keen to mingle with Australia’s best communication designers & would like to cheer us on, please check out the AGDA Design Awards 2018 official website:

https://awards.agda.com.au/awards-weekend

“We’ll be keeping our fingers (and toes!) crossed in the lead up to the event; hopefully we’ll be able to return triumphantly back to Sydney with a couple of trophies! If you haven’t already done so, please like & follow us on Instagram & Facebook.  We have a couple of exciting competitions we’ll be launching on social media very soon – we wouldn’t want you to miss out!”

Kampai!

Find out more about The Sydney Saké Society? Please visit their website:

https://www.sydneysakesociety.com/

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Japanese sake breweries gather in Sydney for a specialised business discussion hosted by JETRO https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/63 https://www.sake-news.com.au/news/63#respond Tue, 10 Jul 2018 22:34:39 +0000 https://www.sake-news.com.au/?p=63 On the 21st of June, 2018, JETRO (Japan External Trade Organisation) held a Sake Masterclass & Showcase event with co-host Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association at the Shangri La Hotel in Sydney. This is the first business discussion event ever to be held in Australia which specialises in Sake. The invited attendees of the […]

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On the 21st of June, 2018, JETRO (Japan External Trade Organisation) held a Sake Masterclass & Showcase event with co-host Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association at the Shangri La Hotel in Sydney. This is the first business discussion event ever to be held in Australia which specialises in Sake.

The invited attendees of the event came from many different industries, the guest list included anyone from sommeliers, mixologists and restauranteurs as well as social media influencers. It was also noted that the restaurants in attendance were not just Japanese restaurants.

During his opening address, Mr. Hiroyuki Nakazato, the Managing Director of JETRO Sydney shared that the overseas export costs of Sake has continuously increased for the last 8 years. He mentioned that his trend is also influencing the Australian market, therefore there is plenty of room to for the demand for Sake in the Australian market to grow.

Mr. Nakazato also stated that he hopes that this business discussion event will raise awareness of the Japanese Sake within the Australian Market.

The Japanese Consul-General Mr. Keizo Takeawaka spoke of how this discussion was the perfect occasion to develop the market for Japanese Sake and that he believes how we can deepen our understanding of Japanese culture through Sake during his opening remarks.

During the seminar held, Mr. Yukio Hamada, the Director of Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association, delved into Sake from a more scientific point of view. He explained the difference in types of Sake as well the difference in the brewing processes along with pictures. He surprised the attendants with information on unconventional uses for Sake. He shared unique way to enjoy Sake such as using it as moisturiser or pouring it into your bath to have a ‘Sake’ bath.

Lee Hudson of Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) passionately explained how to enjoy Sake’s flavours and the different types of Sake through his own seminar.

During his presentation he shared that compared to wine, Japanese Sake is sweeter and milder in taste, therefore being much easier to pair with all sorts of food. He supplied four types of Sake in wine glasses and showed the subtle differences in flavour and aroma to the attendees, appealing to them of his wish of seeing Sake on the menus of non-Japanese restaurants.

‘Australians have embraced various elements of Japan’s unique culture, food and anime and I believe that Japanese Sake is coming in on that wave. It is important to share the true deliciousness of Sake through actually experiencing it, I hope that through this seminar today, all the participants have an interest in the world of Japanese Sake’

17 Sake breweries from all of Japan brought their products to present to the attendees. They thoroughly answered all sorts of questions from how it is made to what is unique about the flavour profile. As this B2B style event specialising in Japanese Sake was a first of its kind if Sydney, there were several companies that have never been to Sydney as well.

The CEO of Homare Sake Brewery from Aizu, Fukushima told us his intention in being apart of this event.

‘I already have product in the Australian market but I joined the event today to really get to know the state of the local market. The response from the local people has been great, they often asked about the wide range of products we have available, and especially about how flavoured Sake is made and about the ‘Junmai Dai-gin-jo’ brand which one the Gold ribbon at IWC2015 (International Wine Challenge). It is true that the product awareness around Sake in Australia is quite low compared soother countries, so the key action to raise awareness will be to stock Sake at non-Japanese restaurants. For this to happen I think it’s important to speak directly to our customers at events such as this one.’

Ms. Yukino Ochiai of the Deja Vu Sake Company, who has been importing Sake to Australia since 2012 commented on how the Australian market is behind trend in this area but that she has high hopes for its development.

”I think that more and more non-Japanese restaurants will begin stocking Sake in Australia. I’ve often seen Sake being used to create cocktails. Mixologists have said that Sake’s unique quality of being softer than spirits but having a high alcohol content that doesn’t meddle with the flavour of the other ingredients make Sake the perfect base. Australia is a kind of country that mixes all kinds of cultures into its own so I’m excited to see what happens with Sake.’

Mr. Hiroyuki Nakazato, the Managing Director of JETRO Sydney also commented on the event.

‘I have a good feeling about the expansion of the Australian Sake market after seeing its popularity at events such as these or like Matsuri in Sydney. However it is also true that Australians don’t consume as much Sake as those in other countries. The biggest alcoholic export from Japan to Australia is beer but I think there’s plenty of room for the demand of Sake to grow. I think that the breweries that have participated today have high hopes for that growth as well.

We had participants from various parts of Japan for this event, and at JETRO we believe in the importance of empowering local communities. By following up with the people of Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association, I believe we can develop a long standing business here.’

A massive support and interest in developing the market for Japanese Sake was felt throughout the event. It was overall successful in raising awareness and gaining momentum in expanding the future of Sake in Australia.

(Source: Southern Cross Promotions)

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