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Sake On Air

Food & Cooking Podcasts

A bi-weekly podcast exploring the stories of sake. Brought to you by experts on the front lines of the industry in Japan.

Location:

Japan

Description:

A bi-weekly podcast exploring the stories of sake. Brought to you by experts on the front lines of the industry in Japan.

Language:

English


Episodes

Craft Sake Week with Rebekah Wilson Lye

4/13/2024
In this week's episode of Sake On Air Sebastien Lemoin and Cindy Bissig are talking about the World’s largest sake event, which just so happens to be a project that one of our other regular hosts; Rebekah Wilson Lye is deeply involved in. We are of course talking about Craft Sake Week in Tokyo! Japan’s most prominent sake event, which was founded by no other than Hidetoshi Nakata in 2016 is not it its 8th installment and is promising to top everything we have seen before. With even more “extra time”, this year CSW will be over the duration of 12 days (kicking off on the 18th of April and finishing on the 29th of April 2024), showcasing 120 breweries from all around Japan bringing some of the best brews available including sake we do not often see at similar events. Accompanied by some of the best food Tokyo has to offer in a stunning space featuring Taichi Kuma’s fabulous art installations, as well as the chance to experience an electrifying lineup of DJs and performers that will elevate your evening with unforgettable entertainment. But aside from the obvious, CSW is so much more and in this episode we are digging a little deeper than just mentioning the breweries or how to navigate it. We were lucky to have Rebekah share with us not just her extensive knowledge of the sake world per se, but also the trends she has been witnessing over almost a decade of CSW, how the industry evolved and how that is reflected in this very special festival. We hope that this will help you enjoy this special event and of course if you are having questions or comments please do share them with us at questions@sakeonair.com or head over to our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook we would love to hear from you! We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air. Until then, kampai! Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:01:00:44

Preserving the Flavors of Sake with Coravin & Toku

3/29/2024
During the recording of Episode 115 “Should sake be promoted like wine?”, Sarah Stewart mentioned a research project between some members of the British Sake Association, and Coravin, the US firm selling a device aimed at preserving the flavors of wine in the bottle after indulging oneself with one glass or two. Intrigued, Sebastien Lemoine reached out to Grace Hunt, Chief Operating Officer at Toku Sake, a premium Junmai Daiginjo produced in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, for the UK market, as well Greg Lambrecht, inventor of Coravin and Chairman of the company, based in Boston. You will hear about Coravin’s history and how the device works, in general and for sake (in effect the results of the research project launched by Toku Sake), as well as how Coravin is helping Toku Sake to open new doors at bars and restaurants. If you ‘d like to share what devices you are using to preserve the flavors of your favorite drink after opening a bottle, you can do so on Instagram, X, or Facebook, and you can reach us all directly with your thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com. There’s more Sake On Air headed your way again in just a couple of weeks.Until then, kampai!Sake on Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew.

Duration:01:00:10

A Sake of Your Own: Contract Brewing Sake

3/22/2024
This week Justin Potts, Chris Hughes, and Sebastien Lemoine discuss the growing trend of sake companies making special sakes for clients and/or partners. The conversations covers the benefits to both established breweries and entrepreneurs trying out their ideas before having to create their own brewery. Their conversation also goes into the differences between partnership sakes, private brand sake, and OEM sake. Check out Episode 41 on Link 8888 for more insight into the world of sake collaboration projects. If you have some of your own sake (or shochu) education experiences that you’d like to share with us here at Sake On Air, you can do so on Instagram, X, or Facebook, and you can reach us all directly with your thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com. There’s more Sake On Air headed your way again in just a couple of weeks.Until then, kampai!Sake on Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew.

Duration:00:54:00

Rebroadcast: Matured Sake, Aged Sake

2/29/2024
This week we’re digging a classic from out of the cellar – our episode exploring the absolute magic of sake that’s been crafted to stand the test of time.While still a relatively niche category within sake, more and more producers are leaning into clearly communicating the amount of time – and in what form – their sake spends maturing prior to release, and the wider beverage-loving community is finally taking notice.From a production standpoint, there are tricks of the trade that allow for all variety of flavor and style creation. The one quality that really can’t be replicated, however, is the unique and special character born only through the passage of time.We welcome you to take a step back in time with us this week, joining your hosts Marie Nagata, Sebastien Lemoine, and Justin Potts, revisiting this episode originally released back in the spring of 2021. If you’re looking to further explore the world of aged sake, I encourage you to check out the special session we hosted on the topic for the Sake Future Summit back in 2020, as well.Thanks for tuning in this week. We’ll be back with more Sake On Air for you very soon. Despite a rich and storied history spanning millennia, in certain terms, sake has yet to unequivocally prove its ability to stand the test of time.If you’re in some way associated with the sale or service of sake, likely one of the most common questions you get is, “How long can I keep my sake before it starts to go bad?” or, “How long does sake stay good after it’s opened?” As a buyer, these are both logical and very important questions. As an industry, having clear and concise answers to those questions is equally important. In order to keep things simple, as well as to help assure an overwhelmingly positive experience for as many sake drinkers as possible, the general message adopted suggests that sake should be consumed within 6-12 months from purchase, refrigerated both prior to and after opening, and then consumed within several days to a week once it’s been opened. This is sound advice that’s relevant to a great majority of the sake being produced and sold both domestically and internationally.There is, however, a paradigm that exists entirely outside of the above logic; where a greater element of time isn’t only a factor, but a necessity.Welcome to the world of matured and aged sake.Often referred to as koshu – literally “old sake” – often translated as “aged sake”, or jukuseishu, commonly translated as “matured sake”, bottles of sake referencing these qualities were crafted taking time into account. That amount of time can be anywhere from a few years to a few decades depending on the style of sake and the intent of the brewer, and in many cases the results are astounding.Yet despite plenty of beautiful examples of aged or matured sake on the market and countless historical texts singing the praises of what time can do to a bottle of sake, a rather perfect storm of circumstances coalesced to nearly erase aged sake culture, production, and consumer appreciation from the collective understanding of sake for about a century.Thankfully, a relatively small, but thoughtful, proactive and coordinated effort from a growing number of sake makers and sellers has been hard at work seeking to rebuild and redefine what time can mean (and cost) when factored into a bottle of sake. Whether it be the collective rebranding efforts of the Toki Sake Association, the Muni line from Kokuryu used in the first ever sake industry auction in 2018, the dedication to long-term aging in ceramic storage vessels by Tsuki no Katsura, or a handful of specialty bars dedicated to the unique and treasured style, awareness surrounding the magic that time can work on a bottle of the right kind of sake is slowly building.This week, Sebastien Lemoine, Marie Nagata and Justin Potts gather to discuss the historical and modern context of matured and aged sake, the formal definitions (or lack thereof) in place,

Duration:01:07:36

Studying Sake with Michael Tremblay

2/20/2024
It feels like only the very recent past when opportunities for more formal sake education and certifications were few and far between, and when they were available, they were often infrequent and hosted in only a handful of territories, which made learning from knowledgeable industry insiders and professionals relatively prohibitive for most of the world’s growing number of sake-curious. Thankfully offerings from formalized organizations and institutions expanded, and a handful of ambitious sake pioneers helped increase both the frequency and quality of these much-needed places and spaces.This week’s guest, however, not only positioned himself on the front lines of the sake education movement as a certified instructor of the WSET sake curriculum while raising the bar for service night-in and night-out as the Beverage Director of Ki Modern Japanese + Bar in Toronto, he also established the world’s first core curriculum and certification focusing on the regional qualities of Japanese Sake with the Sake Scholar Course. His extensive travel throughout Japan and relentless dedication to furthering the depth of knowledge available to sake professionals led to him being anointed a Sake Samurai in 2018. In 2022 he (literally) wrote the book on sake, together with Nancy Matsumoto, providing the world with the James Beard Foundation Award-winning (and fantastic), Exploring Craft Sake: Rice, Water, Earth.This week we’re thrilled to welcome one of the world’s leading sake educators, Michael Tremblay, as he joins Justin Potts to discuss the nature of teaching, studying, learning, and growing together with the ever-expanding sake-inspired community around the world.If you’d like to follow along with Michael’s tireless endeavors you can catch him @mtrsake or @sakescholarcourse. If you have some of your own sake (or shochu) education experiences that you’d like to share with us here at Sake On Air, you can do so on Instagram, X, or Facebook, and you can reach us all directly with your thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com. Thanks so much for raising an ochoko with us this week. There’s more Sake On Air headed your way again in just a couple of weeks.Until then, kampai!Sake on Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew.

Duration:01:12:33

Rebroadcast: Shochu 101

2/1/2024
We’re getting back to basics this week in the world of shochu with one of our most popular shows from our back catalog: Shochu 101. Released back in December of 2018, Mr. Shochu himself, Christopher Pellegrini, walks us through the fundamentals that should help anyone new to the category better understand and enjoy Japan’s incredible indigenous spirit.As to why we selected this particular episode to dig out of the archives; we’ve got a feeling that shochu’s time is close-at-hand. This past year has felt like a significant shift for shochu, with California following up New York in amending laws related to the labelling and sales of Japanese Shochu, bartenders and mixologists further gravitating toward the exceptional koji-powered spirit, and maybe more than anything, producers in Japan really getting on board with a new shift in mindset surrounding the communication and marketing of their product, resulting in the types of industry connections and communication that shochu (and sake) have long missed out on – until now.So sit back, mix yourself a shochu cocktail (or a glass of oyuwari) and time travel a bit with the Sake On Air crew into the wonderful world of shochu.We’ve got more sake and shochu-inspired goodness headed your way again in just a couple of weeks. Until then, kampai! It was time to lay the groundwork for our up-and-coming explorations into the worlds of shochu and awamori. Welcome to Shochu 101 – class is in session.After picking the brains of a few bartending alchemists on the subject, we decided to put the Shochu Pro himself, Mr. Christopher Pellegrini, in the hotseat for 60 minutes in order to break down the fundamentals of both shochu and awamori. For those unacquainted the Japan’s indigenous distillates, this is a great place to start. Hopefully by the end we’ll have your interest piqued enough to inspire a shochu-filled holiday to come!What (can) shochu and awamori be made from? What are the 4 geographical indications for shochu and awamori and why? Is the word “honkaku” important? How did California pave the way for shochu’s market penetration in the U.S. while simultaneously setting communication around the beverage back a generation (or more)?A HUGE thanks to our listeners for all of your support in 2018. You are what make this all worthwhile and inspire us to do better each and every time in the studio. It’s only been about three months since we really got this show off the ground. We have a lot in store and we can’t wait to share more sake excitement in the coming year. As always, @sakeonair is where you can find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and you can reach out to us at questions@sakeonair.com. Of course, a nice review is always welcome, as well. Sake On Air is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center located in Tokyo and made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with editing by Mr. Frank Walter. Our theme is “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:01:03:00

Should Sake be Promoted like Wine?

1/24/2024
This week's episode of Sake On Air we dive further into the topic started with our post “Is wine the best way to promote sake?” last year. Arline Lyons, who wrote the post and has extensively researched the topic, takes a seat behind the mic and joins one of our regular hosts, Sebastien Lemoine to talk more about her findings. However, we thought it may not be a fair discussion without having someone join us to balance out the possible sake-heavy opinions and add some wine background to the round, which is why we invited Sarah Stewart to join us. With her extensive knowledge in both worlds - Sake and Wine, we felt she would be a perfect guest to further discuss why we should/or should not lean onto the wine world when we are trying to promote Japanese sake to new audiences.For anyone who is not yet familiar with Sarah and what she does, originally from Canada, but now based in the UK, aside from being a board-certified veterinary specialist, among the extensive list of her projects and qualifications, she is a WSET Certified Sake Educator at West & South London Wine School. Where she teaches WSET qualifications alongside her own original classes covering a wide variety of sake, wine and food pairing topics. She is also a Wine Scholar Guild Certified Instructor on the French, Spanish and Italian Wine Scholar courses, and teaches Academy of Cheese qualifications with a focus on cheese pairing with sake and wine, as well as judges for the International Wine Challenge - Sake Division and the UK's Great Taste Awards.Expect an engaging discussion, as the three take an honest look at the benefits of using wine terminology promoting sake, but also the problems in doing so, offer solutions, and possibly make you question the way you looked at the topic in the first place…If it did, then we would love to know all about it! Let us know what you think. You can find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook or you can email us questions@sakeonair.com. Of course, if you are also looking to find more sake, shochu and awamori-related information you can do so on all of these channels and don’t hesitate to share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with us. And if you like, rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it. We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai! Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:00:56:01

Noto Earthquake Support

1/19/2024
Many of our listeners are likely aware of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula of Ishikawa Prefecture back on New Years Day, 2024. While the most severe damage was unquestionably across the peninsula, the massive quake reverberated across neighboring prefectures as well, resulting in extensive, far-reaching damage that’s going to take a great deal of time to truly assess, not to mention recover from.Immediately following the earthquake news outlets around the world reported this tragic turn of natural events, however the true nature of the damage and devastation to the region didn’t really come to light until the days and weeks following the quake – long after international media stopped reporting and updating on the aftermath. To be honest, from what we’ve been able to see, although the instance of the quake made the news, most outlets never got around to addressing the realities of the actual devastation.Since January 1st there have been more than 1,000 aftershocks throughout the first week following the quake alone, with temperatures generally peaking in the 40s and dipping below freezing at night, interspersed with rain and snowfall. Along with the quake came fires and tsunami, as well, bringing with them a whole other level of devastation.Amidst this harsh environment, a vast number of locals and residents are now without homes and proper shelter, and still without running water, electricity, gas, and other daily fundamentals required for basic health, warmth and sanitation. Severe damage to the roads and infrastructure is making support and rescue services slow and limited, as each trip into the region needs to be carefully calculated. Many locals are stranded in temporary shelters or housing, attempting to sift through the rubble in areas without running water or electricity amidst the ongoing aftershocks. As such activity is incredibly dangerous, many have had no choice but to flee to neighboring regions with family or colleagues, making occasional calculated rescue efforts back home if or when possible. Many have given up altogether. For those of us personally and professionally involved in the world of sake, news of such extensive damage to the Noto region has been particularly devastating. Although small in terms of physical area, the impact that the Noto region, it’s brewers, breweries, craftsmanship, and wider culture has had on the sake industry is beyond significant; I’d go so far as to call it legendary.Ishikawa Prefecture has played home to several of the most iconic toji and breweries to grace the sake stage in recent history, developing brewing techniques that have proliferated across the country and standardized a lot of brewing practices for the industry. For what the region lacks in physical size, the Noto Toji Guild more than makes up for in member numbers and influence. Toji aside, the number of brewers from the Noto region working throughout Japan are more than you could easily count. Many of the traveling brewers from Noto were away brewing sake in other regions when the quake happened, left without a means to return home to check on their family, or returned home to find everything destroyed. Many no longer have a place to go home to.Of the 11 breweries that are considered to be part of the Noto region, none are in a position to resume production this year, and due to the extensive damage, many likely won’t be able to resume production at home for several seasons to come – if at all. Based on the latest official report from the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association, of the 33 member breweries in Ishikawa Prefecture, 24 of them reported damages, with 2 reported cases of severe damage. With the quake happening in January – peak brewing season – most, if not all in-tank product was lost, with completed, bottled stock largely destroyed. Not only are breweries unable to resume production, their short-term source of income – their sake – is also gone.

Duration:00:12:57

Becoming a Kuramoto with Junichi Masuda of Tsukinokatsura

12/28/2023
We are always thrilled to be joined by special guests here at Sake On Air, but it is rather rare that we have a chance to interview a 15th-generation kuramoto. This week we’re thrilled to share our recent interview with Junichi Masuda, newly appointed CEO of Tokubee Masuda Shoten, makers of Tsukinokatsura, a brand of which we are all collectively huge fans.This week our regular hosts Rebekah Wilson-Lye and Sebastien Lemoine speak with Masuda-san about his sake brewery: Tokubee Masuda Shoten - a historical innovator in the industry - their brand “Tsukinokatsura”, and what changes we can expect to see with his new vision for the company. On a more personal note, we get to hear about what it’s been like to have grown up as part of such an iconic brewing family, the unique pressures, and exciting opportunities.Of course, we also dive into Kyoto, or Fushimi to be precise, where the brewery is located, and the brewery’s connection to the sake community there. Whether it is involvement in local events, being part of the Fushimi Sake Association, or organizing rice planting and harvesting activites for the local community, the Masuda family’s dedication to the region has us excited for where Masuda-san plans to take the brewery in the years ahead.With big events including the 60th anniversary of nigori sake (which the brewery is responsible for creating!) in 2024, as well as the brewery's 350th anniversary in 2025, there are plenty of good reasons for Tokubee Masuda Shoten to celebrate. As always, let us know what you think about this week's episode of Sake On Air and of course, we do hope you go out of your way to experience Tsukinokatsura sake here in Japan or abroad! You can of course follow the brewery on their Instagram for all updates and some beautiful footage of the brewery. We also hope you don’t hesitate to get in touch with us in case you have any sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions via questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it. At the same time, if you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai! Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:00:54:26

Rebroadcast: Hot Sake (Kanzake) 101

12/20/2023
This week we’re digging up a classic from the archives that we released back in April 2020. The theme of the week is kanzake, which felt appropriate as a majority of our audience is now officially rolling into the winter months.If you’re interested in more warm/hot sake insight, we highly encourage you to check out the special session we hosted from Sake Future Summit 2020 featuring the mission of the exceptional kanzake service team traveling France for their annual Kanzake Tour. We also did a little impromptu sake warming/sipping session for the camera back when we originally released this episode, which you can find here.Over the next few months, in addition to our regular bi-weekly programming, we’ll be occasionally dropping rereleases of past episodes on topics that we haven’t really discussed in a number of years and that we feel deserve a little extra bit of attention. If you missed it the first time, now’s your chance to get caught up!Thanks for loving sake and shochu. Have a happy and healthy holiday season and we’ll be back with more brand-new Sake On Air for you next week.Until then, Kampai! This week we’re tackling arguably one of the most misunderstood segments of the sake world:Kanzake, often simply referred to as, Hot Sake.For a complex web of reasons, the quality and general nature of hot (or warm) sake is still shrouded in generations of preconception and misconception. However along with an aggressive reexamination of “Why?” in relation to lost practices in food and beverage, kanzake is in the midst of a mini-resurgence, particularly in Japan. Over the past decade, not only the number, but the level of quality and creativity entrenched in dining and drinking establishments throughout Japan has grown dramatically. Even outside of traditional Japanese cuisine or izakaya dining, some of Japan (and the world’s) most lauded genre-bending restaurants have made elements of kanzake service not only a part of their beverage program, but a cornerstone to it. This week we have Justin Potts, Marie Nagata, Big Chris (Hughes) and Little Chris (Pellegrini) on the mics as we delve into kanzake history, experiences, terminology, service, and heating things up at home.For the already-converted, hopefully you’ll find some hot tips (!) to add to your arsenal. For those still on the fence or for anyone that’s previously been burned (!) by less-than-positive experiences, hopefully you’ll find reason to set out on another expedition of the kanzake landscape.Oh, and there’s a small supplement to this week’s episode over on our YouTube channel, as well! Help more sake-lovers find the show by reviewing and rating us on Apple Podcasts. Let us know what you thought about this or any of our shows to questions@sakeonair.staba.jp, or say “Hi” to the team at @sakeonair on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.If you happen to undertake any kanzake experiments at home, please do share the results and photos with us! Take care out there everyone.And don’t forget to Kampai! Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is a co-production between Export Japan and Potts.K Productions, with audio production by Frank Walter.Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” is composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:01:10:59

Kurabito Stay with Marika Tazawa

12/13/2023
With more travelers these days favoring unique experiences over a few days of leisure for their limited vacation days, Japan’s sake breweries have gradually been improving and expanding their offerings to both domestic and international visitors choosing to tick “sake journey” off their bucket list. An industry that’s largely sheltered itself from outside visitors for a significant chunk of recent history, many breweries are now for the first time figuring out how they can open themselves up to the possibility of tourism becoming a means of connecting with and growing their fanbase while developing a stable new form of reliable business.In a climate where tastings and tours are gradually becoming standard offerings at sake breweries throughout the country, Marika Tazawa went a step further and gathered the attention of the wider sake industry when she launched Kurabito Stay back in March of 2020. Kurabito Stay was the first sake tourism business to offer regular opportunities to, as the website states: “Become a sake brewer”, to anyone with the time and means to make it to the town of Saku in Nagano for a few days. Offering a range of two and three-day programs where participants stay at the brewery and take part in the various processes of making sake, for anyone wanting to get closer to and develop a more personal and in-depth understand of sake through experience, Kurabito Stay has become a no-brainer.Despite launching at the very beginning of one of the most challenging climates in recent history for tourism and travel, Kurabito Stay has now had over 400 participants take part in their range of sake-making programs from across the globe. Their success has demonstrated to the people and businesses of the region that there’s a unique appeal and potential in a synergistic relationship between sake and tourism for the future of rural Japan. With bookings now open for 2024 experiences, a new cycling program for visitors who want to spend a bit more time exploring the region, and a soon-to-be-announced second Kurabito Stay brewery partner prepping for their first programs (details in the show!), it seems that Kurabito Stay is indeed here to, well…stay.This week Justin Potts sits down with Kurabito Stay owner and founder, Marika Tazawa, to discuss all of the above and more. You can stay up-to-date with what’s happening with Kurabito Stay experiences and life in the Nagano town of Saku by following along on their Instagram, or get the latest tour information and availability on their website. Thanks for tuning in with us again this week. You can follow along with the team at Sake On Air also on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and you can reach us all directly with your thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com. There’s more Sake on Air headed your way again in just a couple of weeks.Until then, kampai! Sake on Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew.

Duration:00:40:31

Sake in Brazil with Fabio Ota

11/29/2023
Fabio Ota joins regular host Sebastien Lemoine to talk all things sake in Brazil. Fabio, a lawyer turned sake guy, is the CEO and creator of Megasake, São Paulo’s premier sake shop and distributor. He was named a Sake Samurai earlier this year as part of the 18h cohort, and holds 13 different sake certifications. Sebastien and Fabio get into the ins and outs of the unique nature of sake in Brazil, especially as it relates to the community of Brazilians with Japanese heritage. Although sake is made domestically in Brazil, premium nihonshu (sake made in Japan) has yet to make much of a splash. Fabio and his company are positioned to change that, especially in their work showing chefs how to add sake to their menus and how to pair sake with food. Fabio is also a masterful sake educator who has led courses on sake for over 1,800 F&B professionals and often hosts sake events in Brazil with other Japan connected organizations like the recent Festival do Sake that he held with JSS and the Japan House São Paulo. Give Megasake a follow over on instagram, especially if you live in São Paulo! https://www.instagram.com/megasake/ As always, let us know what you think about this week's episode and we would love to know about other people introducing sake and shochu in South America! If you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it. We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai! Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:01:01:51

Tasting Sake… Professionally?

11/15/2023
For many years a Sake Tasting Competition has been held for selected sake sommeliers from across the country in Tokyo to challenge their tasting skills and knowledge. This year the Brewing Society of Japan has released a special tasting kit, that can be bought by anyone (depending on the availability of it, of course) to help sake professionals and people who strive to learn more about how to evaluate sake, to test and train their tasting abilities.In this very special episode of Sake on Air, we decided to give it a try and with the help of the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, we both got our hands on the sake-tasting kit and an invitation to the competition. So in this 2-part episode, we will share with you how both went. Along with some useful tips and knowledge on how to improve your tasting abilities and hone in on the skills needed to master them.In the first part of this episode, you will hear from Chris Hughes, Rebekah Wilson-Lye and Cindy Bissig about the tasting kit with some interview snippets of Sebastien Lemoine and Marie Nagata on how they got on. From a more simple just recognizing sweet vs dry, to determining which sake sample had higher Succinic acid along with a smell test. Spoiler alert, there were some surprising comments with the conclusion of Chris Hughes sharing that it was an incredibly humbling but super valuable experience, that he would love to have another go at one day and he is not alone in that.As we reach the 2nd half of this week's episode, we will focus on the “42nd Japanese Tasting Competition” that we joined. In which the best Sake Sommeliers from all around Japan come together to “battle” it out over two rounds, a written knowledge and a taste test. As well as, some helpful tips on how to get better at conquering similar tests and more insights from our hosts on sake competition, appraisals, and easy ways to replicate some of these challenges in the comfort of your own home or local Izakaya. As always, let us know what you think about this week's episode and your experience in sake tasting. We would love to know what other strategies people have in place to effortlessly asses a beverage (sake or not), so do let us know! At the same time, if you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai!

Duration:01:04:45

Shochu Cocktails with Suzu

11/1/2023
In this week's episode of Sake On Air we dive further into the world of Shochu and Cocktails as we are excited to have had the chance to talk to Christian Suzuki-Orellana, aka ‘Suzu’, the founder of Kagano Pop-Up, General Manager & Bartender at "Wildhawk" as well as a participant of the immensely popular Netflix show, “Drink Masters”. Among his many achievements, he has been nominated for best US Cocktail Bar and Bartender of the Year in 2022 and is currently traveling all over the world to serve up some finger-licking delicious Cocktails that are often inspired by his childhood and teenage years living and working in Tokyo in his grandparents' restaurant. So when our friends and sponsors at the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association told us they had invited him and a delegation of inspiring mixologists to Japan for a special Shochu tour and workshop, we could not believe our luck. Looking at his impressive resume of working in some of San Francisco’s most iconic cocktail bars, including 15 Romolo, Benjamin Cooper, and Wildhawk, we decided to bring another Cocktail powerhouse as a guest host for this week's Podcast, no other than Joshin Atone, former SG Shochu brand manager and founder of “Flow”, a brand and operations consultancy for bar projects and beyond. Find out more about him in our Episode-47: The SG Shochu with Joshin Atone. To keep the balance and hear more from these two Cocktail masters this episode is facilitated by our very own Cindy Bissig, who besides enjoying a few cocktails here and there also had the chance to meet Suzu in person at the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center, hear about his trip to Kagoshima and try some of the Cocktail creations not just Suzu, but the group of Bartenders came up with. This episode will give you deep insights into Cocktail design, the relevance of Shochu now, and the possibilities for it in the future as well as some very personal anecdotes as both our guest host and Suzu share with us their passion, their challenges, and their vision for the future. At the same time, if you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai!Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:00:58:57

Kusu Day: Tasting Awamori

10/17/2023
This week, we ask that you indulge us just a bit as we…indulge.During Justin’s super-secret (and all-too-brief) return to Japan we had the opportunity to conduct a single recording. That date just happened to coincide with Kusu Day (September 4th) and the magnificent tasting set available at the JSS Information Center. Since Awamori doesn’t get nearly enough love, both on this show and in general, your hosts Marie Nagata, Chris Hughes, and Justin Potts decided to go ahead and dive straight into an impromptu tasting flight of ten (!) Kusu ranging in age, style, and maturation time. Long story short, the journey was as divine as the discoveries.What is Kusu, you ask? For that, we recommend you take a moment to listen to our Awamori 101 episode with Christopher Pellegrini, as well as our interview with Maurice Dudley. If you want a (literal) view into a fantastic distillery in Okinawa and a glimpse of how the gorgeous kame earthenware aging pots are crafted, take a moment to check out the interview and tour with Chuko Awamori Distillery we did for the Sake Future Summit.This week, it’s the Sake On Air crew sipping Awamori. Nothing more, nothing less. You can find the list of everything we sampled below, so if any of our descriptions (or reactions) pique your interest, we recommend you bookmark the matching beverage for your next Japan visit. Each Awamori comes in its own cup Label: Tatsu Awarded Kusu (ABV: 43%)Maker: Kin Shuzo Label: Tatsu 1988 (ABV: 43%)Maker: Kin Shuzo Label: Seifuku 2019 (ABV: 43%)Maker: Seifuku Shuzo Label: Uminokuni KOHAKU 12 Years (ABV: 43%)Maker: Okinawa Brewers Co-op Label: Sennen no Hibiki Kusu (ABV: 43%)Maker: Nakajin Shuzo Label: UFU Yanbaru (ABV: 44%)Maker: Yanbaru Shuzo Label: Zuisen 3 Years (ABV: 30%)Maker: Zuisen Shuzo Label: Gyokuyu Awarded Edition (ABV: 40%)Maker: Ishikawa Shuzojo Label: Gyokuyu Limited Kusu (ABV: 30%)Maker: Ishikawa Shuzojo Label: Nanko K 10 Years (ABV: 40%)Maker: Kamiya Shuzosho Thanks for tuning in with us again this week. Please do follow along (and follow) us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and don’t hesitate to also reach out to us with other sake and shochu-related thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake on Air in just a couple of weeks. Until then, kampai! Sake on Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew.

Duration:01:02:59

Kura One by Katsunari Sawada (Part 2)

10/11/2023
In our last podcast episode of Sake On Air, we had two of our regular hosts Chris Hughes and John Gauntner talk with Katsunari Sawada, the man behind the pocket-sized sake can, KURA One. If you have not had a chance to listen to it yet, we recommend you do so (here) before listening to the 2nd part, as we are looking further into the question of whether this could be indeed the future of packaging for the sake industry and beyond.We will also be diving deeper into how to market sake overseas and KURA One’s strength in doing so. This comes as no surprise as Sawada-san has an incredible PR and marketing background and knows that putting in extensive research into what producers, sellers, and consumers want is crucial to building a successful concept and product.But what is KURA One’s long-term strategy? With a huge demand for small format single-serving units in Japan, how will the company navigate the challenge of possibly cannibalizing brands that they are promoting (or vice versa) in other markets, and are these small cans really sustainable in the long run?As always, we would love to hear what you think about this special double episode and make sure to check out KURA ONE on Instagram, as Sawada-san often posts promotions and special deals. At the same time, if you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai! Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:00:52:57

Kura One by Katsunari Sawada (Part 1)

9/27/2023
In this week's episode of Sake On Air, two of our regular hosts Chris Huges and John Gauntner came together to chat with Katsunari Sawada san, the mastermind behind KURA One!For anyone unfamiliar with KURA ONE, the company's mission in their own words “is a sake service that changes the "unreachable" into "deliverable".” Moving away from the bigger sized 720 ml bottle and creating a smaller 180 ml aluminum sake can, an alternative to the traditional “One Cup”. Sawada-san has set out to change the sake industry and is working with representative brands of sake breweries that have won awards both domestically and internationally, hoping to promote sake.With the brand KURA ONE becoming more and more prominent it might come as a surprise that the man behind the idea did not really drink sake in his 20s and 30s. When asked why, he answered that it was because of the image he had about alcohol being used to “just get drunk” and it was not until much later in his life that he connected with the beverage. In fact, he attributes coming back to Japan after extensively traveling all around the world that made him realize his role and responsibility in helping people to discover the charm of his home country, Japan.Knowing this could only be done by truly understanding the local mindset, he visited 47 prefectures across Japan, in which he had many opportunities to exchange opinions with craftsmen and brewers. This uniquely valuable experience is what became the foundation of it all, as he became fascinated by regional products born from geographical and cultural backgrounds, influenced by the way of life, thinking, and attitude of the craftsmen who create them. This is where the Idea of KURA ONE started.Combining his incredible PR & communication knowledge with finding a new way to package and showcase these producers is what we see in KURA ONE today. Finding smart solutions that both help the people in the industry who make the sake, as well as using data to customize the products for customers to easily understand the product with smart technology to help to easily deliver and store them. Plus dare we say, these can’s are also incredibly beautiful to look at.Prepare yourself for an engaging conversation as John, with his extensive knowledge of the sake import industry follows up with Sawada-san on some key points of why or why not this might be the future of packaging.As always, let us know what you think about this week's episode and we will be back very soon with part 2! In the meantime make sure to check out KURA ONE on Instagram, as Sawada-san has mentioned he will have some promotions coming up soon and of course, don’t hesitate to also reach out to us with any sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it. At the same time, if you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai! Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:00:38:52

Translating Taste with Arline Lyons

9/12/2023
Arline Lyons never expected to be the go-to translator for sake related writings coming out of Japan, but remix Mr. Crichton, “sake finds a way.” Our American host in America, Justin Potts sat down with her to talk sake, translation, and some exciting news regarding the growth of Sake on Air. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Arline holds the (WSET) Level 3 Award in Sake and is a SSI International Kikizake-shi, and a SEC Advanced Sake Professional. In their free flowing conversation, they also get into the sake industry in Europe and some of the differences in wine and sake education.Arline is the mastermind behind the sake focused newsletter (https://taste-translation.com/), sake workshops in Europe (https://discover-sake.com/), and a delightful series of t-shirts that can be found here: https://saketees.com/product-category/t-shirts/. She is also one of the go-to translators for the Brewing Society of Japan and for our dear friends at JSS. In her life away from sake, she is also a highly accomplished translator in the pharmaceutical and medical field.Annnnnd now she is joining the team here at Sake on Air! Arline will be writing a monthly post about sake for the Sake on Air website. You can find the first one here: https://sakeonair.com/2023/09/13/is-wine-the-best-way-to-promote-sake/ Share your thoughts with us on Don’t hesitate to also reach out to us with sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook or at questions@sakeonair.com! Don’t forget to rate us on the podcast service of your choice or just write it on a sake label, we don’t care. We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake on Air before you know it. Until then, kampai! Sake on Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew.

Duration:00:55:10

Mixing Shochu with Bartender Soran Nomura

8/22/2023
How do we effectively promote Japan’s indigenous beverages? That is the million-dollar question and something the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association are working on relentlessly every day. On the Shochu front, one way they are doing this is by collaborating with bartenders and mixologists from all around the world who have fallen in love with Shochu and Awamori and showcasing the fruits of these collaborations at special events.Recently, we were lucky to join one of these events, where we got front-row insights into the state of the industry as well as being treated to some delicious Shochu Cocktails by not other than Soran Nomura, renowned in the bartending community both in Japan and abroad, owner of Nomura Shoten, the Quarter Room in Tokyo, creator of beverage consultant firm “ABV+” among a long list of things.So in this week’s podcast, our regular hosts and Shochu enthusiasts Christopher Pellegrini and Marie Nagata sat down together with Soran to chat about his incredible story. Starting out his journey somewhat 20 years ago in London, with the dream to study art, he very quickly realized he needed a way to make money, so he joined the team at a bar in east London, first as a bar back, but quickly worked his way up in no less than 2 months to become a bartender!His love for art inspired him to reinterpret garnishes and cocktail presentations which lightened his passion for cocktail making and inspired him to become a mixologist. Fast forward and 10 years later, Soran became the head bartender at well-known Fuglen in Tokyo. He then moved on to work on a variety of things including opening his own consultancy called “ABV+”, and working as the bar producer and manager at the famous K5 Hotel in Tokyo, before opening Nomura Shoten in 2022, followed by the the Quarter Room earlier this year. A unique bar concept that intends to fuse art and cocktails. Listening to Soran, and how he approaches new cocktail creations even left our hosts in awe for a few seconds. Comparing the layer of a drink with mixing colors for a painting, Soran brings it all back to his beginnings and passion for art.As always, let us know what you think about this week's episode and if you are in Tokyo, make sure you visit Nomura Shoten or the Quarter room! You can of course follow Soran on his Instagram and don’t hesitate to also reach out to us with other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.At the same time, if you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai!Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

Duration:01:01:51

Bubbling in the Moromi with Martin Sturma

8/9/2023
Martin Sturma’s path to kurabito life at Shimizu Seizaburo Shoten has been a winding one. He first started working with sake at the JETRO Prague office, but he had already fallen in love with drink thanks to a fateful encounter on a study abroad trip to the U.S., of all places.By 2020 he was ready to make the move to Japan and start working at a brewery, but the pandemic got in the way, and he found himself in Paris working for one of the more interesting sake makers outside of Japan, WAKAZE. There he was able to build experience across all parts of the brewing process, preparing him for when Japan finally reopened its borders, at which point he promptly set off to start at Shimizu Seizaburo Shoten, the makers of Zaku.Today he joins us to talk about his experiences becoming a kurabito, the differences between working at a sake brewery outside of Japan and a more traditional brewery in Japan, and why keeping the yeast happy is the best way to make delicious sake. Anybody planning on coming to Japan to brew sake? Share your ambitions with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also follow Martin's adventures on his instagram. Don’t hesitate to also reach out to us with other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake on Air before you know it.Until then, kampai! Sake on Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew.

Duration:01:00:16