Sake Samurai Association UK Representative
Rie Yoshitake is a recognised sake promoter and international strategy and communications expert. She represents the Sake Samurai Association, the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association in the UK and is the Sake Ambassador for the International Wine Challenge.
Rie has been working in Japan – UK relations for the last 25 years, since she came to London to pursue her ambition to be a bridge between two countries and two cultures. She represented a Japanese trading company for the first 10 years and gained broad experience in international markets, developing strong business connections, especially in the fine wine industry.
In 2007, Rie was invited to become the UK Representative for the Sake Samurai Association to promote her national drink, and Japanese culture, overseas. At the same time, she also became involved in the International Wine Challenge sake competition in partnership with Sake Samurai. Rie has also been proactively and widely engaged in promoting sake, and other elements of Japanese culture. She has focused on raising the profile of sake, as well as increasing mutual understanding between the UK and Japan. She has organised prestigious events at the UK Houses of Parliament, the Embassy of Japan, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and multi-national companies in the City of London. In 2011, she was featured in the Guardian Media’s series of online videos introducing sake (see below), and has become known as the “Sake Lady” in London, her adopted home.
Rie has established her international consultancy ‘Yoshitake & Associates’ to initiate and develop multifaceted projects that build bridges between Japanese and UK businesses. She is also a director and the UK representative of Claret Co. Ltd., Japan, and the Goodwill Ambassador for the Munakata ECO-100 International Forum to promote her home town of Fukuoka, Japan.
Her continuing support of Japan and the promotion of sake was honoured by the Government of Japan in November 2014 when Rie Yoshitake was presented with the Japanese Minister’s Award for Promoting Japanese Food Overseas. Rie consequently received the Foreign Minister’s Award in 2019.