Winner of Minister’s Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food, Rie Yoshitake

Newsletter from The Embassy of Japan in the UK, December 2014

UK-based Ms Rie Yoshitake was among the winners of the Eighth Minister’s Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food announced earlier this year. Ms Yoshitake is a UK-Japan communication expert and Sake Promoter. She is an official UK Liaison for the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association and the UK representative for the Sake Samurai Association.

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WSET Japan Tour Winter 2014

Mostly Asian Food & Travel, December 2014

Sake is more popular than ever outside Japan. There is a growing body of beverage professionals who are now turning their attention to Japan’s iconic national drink and they are proving their sommelier credentials via the WSET® Level 3 Award in Sake.

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Sake in situ – the overlooked tourist attraction

Mostly Asian Food & Travel, December 2014

A dream came true for me recently and it was courtesy of the Japanese Ministry of Forestry and FisheriesSake in situ (MAFF). That might sound unlikely when one’s dreams are often woven around the acquisition of something small and sparkling, a new 3D TV, or designer shoes. MAFF invited me on my first trip to Japan and that surpassed any gratification from transient gifts.

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Anna Greenhous: Reviews first-ever sake qualification courses that are rolling out in the UK

Harpers, 17th November 2014

Until recently, there were no English language sake qualifications available in the U.K. This November saw the launch of the WSET’s Level 3 Award in Sake, one of a few sake courses and qualifications now available from different providers in the U.K.

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Sake: new and traditional styles are shining a light on the sake scene

The Independent, 4th November 2014

Philip Harper, Japan’s only British sake master brewer, came to London last month to conduct a tasting of his Tamagawa sake, with British cheeses from Paxton & Whitfield: a Shepton Mallet goat’s cheese, Paxton’s aged cheddar, and a half baby stilton.

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Sake brewer aims to build on Fukui’s bonds with Israel

Japan Times, 30th October 2014

A sake brewery in Fukui Prefecture is looking to bring the taste of rice wine to Israel to strengthen relations with a prefecture that has strong historical links to the Jewish nation, links that date back to the 1940s.

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Fortissimo drinks to Kampai! For The Love of Sake

Screen Daily, 29th October 2014

Fortissimo takes world rights except Japan for Mirai Konishi’s feature documentary Kampai! For The Love Of Sake

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Blazing a trail for Japanese sake in China

Japan Times, 9th October 2014

Nineteen years ago, Nakatani began brewing sake in Tianjin, China, and the high-quality “Asaka” sake enjoys nearly the top share of China’s sake market.

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Four hundred years of British-Japanese relations celebrated in Plymouth

Plymouth Herald, 28th Sep 2014

The 112-foot tall ship sailed into Sutton Harbour yesterday afternoon, commemorating the historic homecoming of The Clove in Plymouth 400 years ago which concluded the first UK trade mission to Japan.

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Anna Greenhous: how sake brewing is growing around the world

Harpers, 19th Sep 2014

Having recently detailed the history of sake-brewing in the US, Anna Greenhous looks at sake-brewing in the rest of the world outside of Japan.

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Sharing the Subtleties of Japan’s Original Brew

Highlighting Japan, August 2014 edition

A profile of UK based sommelier Natsuki Kikuya, of Museum of Sake, and her activities to enhance understanding of sake in the UK and Europe through a tailored and innovative approach.

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Sake in the UK

Japan Spotlight, July/August 2014 edition

The UK is home to increasing numbers of sake lovers, but where is the industry really at and what needs to be done to drive further growth? Journalist Tony McNicol talks to key players in the UK sake scene.

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Sake turns to global markets to sustain its traditional industry

Hot Rum Cow, 29th August 2014

The long history of sake brewing in Japan is under threat from floundering domestic sales, but international markets hold promise and potential for reviving one of Japan’s most traditional industries.

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Japan’s sake brewers target Asia

Nikkei Asian Review, 26th August 2014

Sake exports hit a new record of more than 5.4 billion yen ($51.4 million) in the first half of this year.

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For goodness’ Sake: UK’s Burgeoning Love Affair with Sake

The Independent, 17th August 2014

Kate Youde explains how sake is an increasingly popular fixture on menus as bars and restaurants capitalise on the popularity of Japanese food and the drink’s versatility in complementing other cuisines.

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Taste for things Japanese attracting more U.S. tourists

Japan Times, 13th August 2014

For the first time in nine years, Japan will see a record number of American visitors, thanks to the yen’s depreciation and a growing interest in things Japanese, such as sake and anime.

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Sake Traditions Evolve for Western Markets

New York Times, 4th August 2014

Brewery owner Kensuke Shichida talks about the role of Western markets in supporting Japan’s sake industry, and the challenges of pairing sake with non-Japanese cuisine.

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Rie Yoshitake on promoting sake around the world with the IWC, 31st July 2014

Anna Greenhous talks to Rie Yoshitake, UK representative of the Sake Samurai Association, about how the IWC sake category came about, its impact and success in promoting sake across the world.

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Sake Brewery to Open in Massachusetts

Boston Magazine, July 30th 2014

Dovetail is set to become Boston’s first sake brewery, with first products scheduled for market launch by the end of 2014.

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Bacteria, Not Just Brewers, Make the Sake

Nature World News, July 26th 2014

Although long understood by brewers, a new study from the University of California breaks down the science behind the role of bacteria in brewing.

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London’s Latest Sake Trends

Imbibe, July 15th 2014

Natsuki Kikuya of Museum of Sake and James Randall of Hixter discuss London’s latest sake trends, including flavoured sake, sake from unpolished rice, and aged sake.

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New Premium Sake Range Launched in the UK by Bibendum, 14th July 2014

Anna Greenhous profiles the new range of premium sake from four leading breweries recently launched by UK drinks supplier Bibendum, under the guidance of Natsuki Kikuya from the Museum of Sake.

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American Sake Guru, John Gautner, Releases New Sake Book

Japan Times, 5th July 2014

Japan’s leading English language newspaper reviews American sake expert John Gautner’s new book, Sake Confidential: A Beyond-the-Basics Guides to Understanding, Tasting, Selection & Enjoyment.

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Embassy of Japan Hosts IWC Tasting, 30th June 2014

The Embassy of Japan in the UK will be hosting a special sake tasting, featuring 13 leading breweries including the 2014 IWC trophy winners, on July 17th.

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IWC Innovator of the Year: Candidate Interview with Oliver Hilton-Jones, 27th June 2014

An interview with Oliver Hilton-Jones, founder of Tengu Sake, has been nominated for IWC Innovator of the Year Award. Here he talks to Anna Greenhous about his approach and his hopes for the UK sake industry.

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America’s Love Affair with Sake, 23rd June 2014

Harpers’ resident sake expert, Anna Greenhous, introduces the history of sake drinking in America, including profiles of a few of the best US micro breweries.

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Sake Makers Promote Sake Overseas

The Straits Times, June 18th 2014

A group of leading sake masters and brewery owners travelled to Singapore to take part in a showcase of sake, where they also discussed the best way to promote sake to international markets.

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Where to drink sparkling sake in London

Evening Standard, 23rd May 2014

Emily Jupp highlights the growing demand for sparkling sake in London, as well as some of the best places in the capital to indulge.

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Sake Hot or Cold, 9th May 2014

Anna Greenhous continues her special series on all things sake. This time, discover when to heat sake up and when to drink it chilled, and everything in between.

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Sake: a re-education

Berry Bros & Rudd blog, 3rd May 2014

Spirits specialist Rob Whitehead introduces his three favourite sake and suggests how they can be best enjoyed, with or without food.

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Sake, Soul of Tohoku

Zoom Japan, April 2014

An exploration of the impact of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami on the sake brewing industry of the Tohoku region of Japan, and how the brewers in the area are fighting back.

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Five Things You Never Knew About Sake

Karen Attwood, Nine Media Training, 24th April 2014

As someone who lived in Japan for four years, I love many aspects of the country’s culture – soaking in a hot spring, cherry blossom parties and karaoke, all of which are best enjoyed with a cup or two (or three) of sake!

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Japanese sake visits Parliament

Mostly Asian Food, 31st March 2014

Chrissie Walker’s review of the Sake Evening at the Houses of Parliament hosted by the British-Japanese Parliamentary Group in association with Sake Samurai UK.

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Beer maker Arran plans ‘first’ Scottish sake brewery

BBC News Scotland, 27th March 2014

A beer maker has announced plans to create what it claims will be Scotland’s first sake brewery.

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UK’s first sake brewery planned by Scotland’s Arran Brewery

Herald Scotland, 28th March 2014

Arran Brewery, located on the Isle of Arran in Scotland, is set to apply for planning permission to enable them to open the UK’s first ever sake brewery.

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Best options for entry level sake on the UK market

Harpers online, 18th March 2014

Anna Greenhous continues her series on sake by introducing her recommendations for entry level sake currently available in the UK.

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Monocle radio interview with Natsuki Kikuya

Monocle Radio, 7th March 2014 (0:36:00 onwards)

Monocle Radio interviews Natsuki Kikuya, founder of the Museum of Sake, about pairing sake with non-Japanese food and its potential for inclusion on restaurant wine lists.

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How to appreciate sake: a masterclass

Berry Bros & Rudd blog, 25th February 2014

World Sake Imports UK Sales Director Asami Tasaka conducts a masterclass with Anne McHale MW of Berry Bros & Rudd, introducing the basics of sake and how to enjoy it.

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In Sake, Japan Sees a Potential Stimulus

New York Times, 21st February 2014

As Japan confronts troubling economic data and memories of its stagnant “lost generation,” the country’s government is offering a little something to take the edge off: a bottle or two of sake.

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Bibendum launches sake range with Museum of Sake

The Drinks Business, 21st February 2014

Fine wine merchant Bibendium will be launching a boutique range of 15 sake, curated by Natsuki Kikuya of Museum of Sake, in response to increasing demand for premium sake in the UK. .

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Focus on Tengu Sake’s luxury range

Financial Times, 20th February 2014

How To Spend It profiles Tengu Sake, a carefully curated brand featuring sake from five breweries by British sake expert Oliver Hilton-Jones.

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Making sake accessible to wider audiences

Harpers online, 3rd February 2014

Harpers’ resident sake correspondent, Anna Greenhous, talks about the Discovering Sake series, broadcast on the Discovery Channel and online, as an attempt by MAFF and other stakeholders to promote sake to a wider audience.

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Exploring sake brewing traditions in Nada

Japan Today, 1st February 2014

Take a trip around Nada, the district of Kobe famed for being a centre of sake production: around 16% of all sake produced in Japan is made in this district.

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Interview with Toshie Hiraide of Sake Samurai Japan

Mostly Asian Food and Travel, 1st February 2014

An interview with Toshie Hiraide, Sake Samurai Coordinator and IWC Ambassor, by food writer Christina Walker.

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Review of WSET taster seminar

Mostly Asian Food and Travel, 1st February 2014

A review of the recent WSET taster seminar, by Christina Walker, in anticipation of the launch of a Level 3 WSET qualification in August 2014.

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Canada’s only sake brewery helps fuel drink’s popularity

Skedline, 31st January 2014

The Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, established in 2011, is the first sake brewery in eastern North American and is helping to bolster the popularity of sake in Canada with products made using California rice, Japanese koji, and Canadian spring water.

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WSET seminars precede August 2014 launch of sake qualification

The Drinks Business, 27th January 2014

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is conducting a series of seminars on sake in advance of the launch, in August 2014, of a Level 3 course. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries supported the WSET sake educators prior to the official launch of the course.

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Japan Looks to Sake to Spur Exports

Bloomberg Businessweek, 23rd January 2014

A beer maker has announced plans to create what it claims will be Scotland’s first sake brewery.

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Sake boom revives rice types as Abe eyes exports

Japan Times, 8th January 2014

Overseas shipments of sake reached an all-time high of ¥8.5 billion in the 10 months through October as they headed for a fourth annual gain, the latest data from the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry show.

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Fresh pressings from Norway’s sake brewery

Japan Times, 7th January 2014

Nøgne Ø Brewery in Norway is best known for its line of award-winning craft beers, but the company is quickly gaining a reputation for another brewed beverage: sake.

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Sake popularity surging abroad but marketing needed

Japan Times, 7th January 2014

At a luxury hotel in an affluent corner of west London, Rajan Ragesamy, a certified sake sommelier based in the United Arab Emirates, raises a wooden mallet above his head in preparation to crack open a fresh barrel.

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Drink to serenity: tasting Kyoto’s sake

Alto Magazine, 17th December 2013

Kyoto has been home to sake brewers for hundreds of years, but it is only now that overseas connoisseurs are discovering the drink’s sublime qualities, best explored by visiting the city itself.

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Oishii Japan Part 1: Sake Samurai

The Straits Times, Singapore, 10th November 2013

Introducing Sake Samurai Ayuchi Momose, who talks about telling good sake from bad and gives on tips on pairing sake with food.

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Kanpai! Spirited Away by Sake

Wall Street Journal, 25th October 2013

Owner of Tengu Sake, Oliver Hilton-Johnson, takes sake newbie Will Lyons on a whirlwind tour through sake basics and beyond.

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The French Sake Bar Revolution

Forbes Travel Guide, 14th October 2013

Profiling the burgeoning sake scene in Paris, including the city’s newest sake tasting event, launched in 2013 and featuring a panel discussion with Sake Samurai from throughout Europe.

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The Wine Lover’s Sake

Wine Muse, 8th October 2013

Review of sake tasting by Sake Samurai Timothy Sullivan and a discussion on how to approach sake as a wine lover.

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Monocle Radio

11th October 2013

Michael Booth’s interview with IWC2013 champion sake Kitaya, Kotaro Kinoshita and Rie Yoshitake for Monocle Radio. Recorded in Fukuoka, Kyushu

Enter the Sake Dojo

Mixology Made Simple, 9 September 2013

Interview with American Sake Samurai, John Gautner, on the development of the sake industry in the US and some tips on buying sake.

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Sake: Ancient and Modern by Phillip Harper

Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, 6th September 2013

Talk on the history of sake-making given by Phillip Harper, the only British toji (master brewer) in Japan, at Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in association with Japan 400.

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Anthony Rose: Sake is a product with its own pedigree and culture

The Independent, 24th August 2013

Wine writer Anthony Rose gives his take on the state of the sake market in the UK, and suggests some reasonably price and readily available options to try.

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American and Japanese Sake: Is there a difference?

Smithsonian Magazine, 20th August 2013

A discussion on the differences between sake produced in Japan and that produced overseas, in light of the increasing numbers of breweries popping up in the US and beyond.

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US Sake Master Shares the Joy of Sake

Kera News, 14th August 2013

John Gautner, an American sake guru living in Japan, gives an interview on some sake basics when back home to teach classes to the increasing number of sake fans in the US.

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Fukuoka Sake Wins IWC Champion Sake

Fukuoka Now, 2nd August 2013

An example of the significant media coverage in Japan of Kitaya brewery’s Champion Sake win at the IWC Awards Dinner in July 2013.

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Popularity of sake continues to grow in the UK

Embassy of Japan Newsletter, August 2013

The prestigious International Wine Challenge (IWC) featured some 583 entries in the sake category this year, with results being announced at the awards dinner on 18 July 2013 at Grosvenor House in London, attended by Ambassador Hayashi.

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The Drinks Business, 18th July 2013

Gilbert Winfield offers his insight on the sake served at the Embassy of Japan IWC Trophy Winner tasting, held in July 2013, and considers the future of the UK sake market.

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Sake led record surge in Japanese liquor exports to ¥20.6 billion in 2012

Japan Times, August 2013

Sake exports set a new high of ¥8.9 billion in 2012 as sales at home remained in the doldrums. Led by sake, Japan’s overall liquor exports in 2012 also climbed to a record ¥20.6 billion, the highest since 1988, when related data first became available. Sake was followed by beer and whiskey, at ¥4.4 billion and ¥2.4 billion, respectively.

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New markets, new hope

Sake expert Natsuki Kikuya talks to The Drinks Report about how overseas growth is saving Japan’s traditional brewing culture

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IWC2013 Champion Sake – Daiginjo Gokujo Kitaya

YouTube, 2nd August 2013

IWC Champion Sake for 2013 was awarded to Daiginjo Gokujo Kitaya, Kitaya Co Ltd

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IWC2013 Sake Contributor 2013

YouTube, 2nd August 2013

IWC2013 Sake Contributor 2013 was awarded to Susanne Rost-Aoki

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Rie Yoshitake – Sake and more

Mostly Food and Travel Journal

Ms.Yoshitake has called London home for more than two and a half decades and is uniquely placed to represent and support Japanese sake and wine producers.

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David Cameron ‘chugged down’ rice wine with Japan’s prime minister

The Daily Telegraph, 4th April 2013

David Cameron “chugged down” cups of rice wine during a visit to Japan last year, Yoshihiko Noda, the former Japanese prime minister has revealed.

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How to drink sake in Japan

The Telegraph Luxury, 24th January 2013

Like sushi, sake is an integral part of Japanese cuisine that foreign visitors often only have a superficial understanding of. Here, Tokyo-based world champion sake sommelier Kaoru Izuha presents her definitive guide to Japan’s national drink.

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Sake ‘never fights with food’

BBC Food, 23rd November 2012

Sake has taken off in the US and while the UK is trailing behind, the drink’s depth of flavour means experts are now matching it to non-Japanese food.

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IWC Champion Sake 2012 – Daiginjo Fukukomachi, from National trading Inc Kimura Brewery

YouTube, 8th October 2012

This Daiginjo from National Trading Inc Kimura Brewery from Tohoku in the prefecture of Akita, was praised for its soft and round character, exotic grapefruit and umami and a balanced texture and lovely length.

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Sake experts showcase Japan’s finest brews in the UK

Eat Japan, 24th July 2012

This month, as part of a unique drive to promote Japanese sake and inspire stimulating cultural exchange, four sake brewers visited three locations in the UK.

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Japan plans to push sake as export hit

China Economic Net, 4th July 2012

Move over cars and high tech. Japan, long renowned for its innovative autos and gadgets, now hopes to turn sake and other local spirits into export hits as well.

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Wine Challenge brings sake contest to Japan

The Japan Times, 8th June 2012

At 9 a.m. on the morning of May 28, the 40 judges who had been invited to arbitrate in the 2012 International Wine Challenge sake competition convened in the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association building in Tokyo’s Shinbashi district.

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Sake’s comeback symbolises Japan’s recovery

The Independent, 4th March 2012

One year on, the drink is the spirit of a nation’s recovery from the tsunami

Sake, the national drink of Japan which for years has been in steep decline, has become the very spirit of the country’s recovery from the devastation of last March’s tsunami.

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IWC Sake Samurai Inauguration

YouTube, 20th January 2012

In October 2011, Andrew Reed, International Wine Challenge, was inaugurated in to the Sake Samurai Association in Kyoto, Japan for contribution to the Sake industry. This is a rare and honourable privilege. This video captures the ceremony.

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IWC and Sake Samurai Masterclass and Discovery Tasting

Eat Japan, 22nd April 2011

On April 19, the 5th Annual IWC and Sake Samurai Sake Masterclass and Discovery Tasting was held at the Barbican Centre, London.

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Born: Ginsen 2008, Katoukichibee Shouten – IWC 2010 Champion Junmai

YouTube, 14th October 2010

Junmai from Fukui gives a wonderful freshness, a touch of petals with a floral bouquet. Green fruity, honey, apricot jam. Medium long finish.

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Learn more about sake in Japan by Michael Booth, author of Sushi & Beyond and award winning food and travel writer.

Japan National Tourism Organization, July 2010

It is, perhaps, ironic that the coolest, hippest, must-have drink of the moment – considered the height of sophistication in cutting edge bars from New York to Barcelona to London – is made by some of the most tradition – conscious firms in Japan, and in some of the country’s most atmospheric and historic premises.

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Sake Samurai Association at the IWC Awards Dinner 2009

YouTube, 11th March 2010

Kochi Saura speaks to Ray O’Connor at the International Wine Challenge Awards Dinner 2010

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Obsessives – Sake

YouTube, 5th August 2008

Beau Timken of True Sake is proud to be called a sake samurai. His fanaticism comes across in his enthusiasm for junmai, daiginjo, and ginjo, and he rails against those who encourage libation without education. Take the hint: learn from Beau.

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Sake Samurai – Mr. Keisuke Irie, The Interview

Japan in Melbourne

Together with the spread of Japanese sake culture in the world, we wish to bring the tourism industry back to life. To support that, we are actively conducting business promotions, consulting, and performance promotions. Sake lectures and the sake business, including the coordinator of “Sake Samurai” diverge into many branches.

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