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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Nabeshima, Akishika, Terada Honke, Hana Tomoe, Tae No Hana, Ine Mankai|
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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Kumo, Kenbishi, Dassai, Toji, Dewazakura, Kinmon|
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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Dewazakura, Hakkaisan, Tengumai, Horaisen, Yukinobosha, Nanbu Bijin, Daishichi, Senkin|
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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Dassai, Juyondai, Akishika, Rumiko no Sake, Tengumai, Dewazakura|
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.
|Warehouse location:||Central Sydney|
|Popular Saké brands:||Dassai, Ippin, Kubota, Jozen, Hassen, Hakkaisan, Nanbu Bijin|
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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Hanatomoe, Nabeshima, Moriki Shuzo, Terada Honke, Kirei Shuzo, Akishika, Mukai Shuzo|
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.
|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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Dewazakura, Shichida, Yoshinogawa, Horaisen, Tengumai, Kenbishi|
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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Katsuyama, Imayo Tsukasa, Ginrei Gassan, Koshino Kanbai, Kokuryu, Juyondai, Hakurakusei|
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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Kaze no Mori, Shichiken, Tamagawa, Terada Honke, Taiheizan, Senkin, Katsuyama|
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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Hakkaisan, Ippin, Nanbu Bijin, Daishichi, Tatenokawa, Urakasumi|
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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Ranman, Yukinobosha, Kitanohomare, Kohro, Kizakura|
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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Dassai, Ohmine, Seikyo, Tatenokawa, Horaisen, Kohro, Yukinobosha, Kizakura|
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).
|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.
|Warehouse location:||Sydney, Melbourne|
|Popular Saké brands:||Yamamoto, Kaze no Mori, Toko, Kariho, Kirinzan, Daruma Masamune, Nagaragawa|
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.
|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.
|Popular Saké brands:||Hiida Honke, Yulli’s Brew, Bentenmusume, Taka, Jozen, Kubota, Akishika, Dassai, Hanatomoe|
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.