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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.

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




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




A Message from Sake On Air

Back in October of 2018 when we released the very first episode of Sake On Air, none of us had recorded or produced a podcast before, and there was no precedent for what a podcast about sake and shochu could or should be. At the time, the number resources with quality information about what sake is were both growing and improving – which was fantastic! So instead of retreading that same material, we set out with the goal of “expanding the dialogue around sake and shochu.”Having a basic...


A Brewer’s Evolution with Mehdi Medhaffar

We’ve welcomed more than an a few non-Japanese kurabito to the show in the past that have made sake brewing here in Japan their chosen path for a day or a lifetime. As the number of breweries integrating more diverse members into their workforce increases, it’s becoming difficult to keep track of the range of characters immersing themselves sake-driven careers here in the land of the rising sun.This week’s guest, however, has been on our radar for some time. Having spent roughly a decade...


Awamori with Maurice Dudley

It’s been way too long since we’ve spent an entire episode dialing straight into the world of awamori. That’s why we’re thrilled that your host Christopher Pellegrini’s recent trip to Okinawa brought him together with Maurice Dudley, a man who has been slightly behind the scenes but at the absolute center of the concentrated efforts to bring the glory of awamori to spirits and cocktail connoisseurs throughout his hometown of Okinawa, as well as to regions across the globe.Maurice is a...


Where Beer & Sake Collide

We finally have a great excuse to discuss beer this week.Despite a long history of (ongoing) misrepresentation as “rice wine” and the sake industry’s mild obsession with the wine world, we’re finally reaching a point where common sense (and basic science) have started to take hold. The result is a wider realization and acceptance that, when it comes to the act of brewing, sake exists in a place closer to the world of beer than that of wine. (That being said, don’t forget that sake is its own...


Restoring Tradition: Kame Brewing with Yucho Shuzo

In Part 1 of this special two-part series visiting the producers reviving the lost art of kamejikomi, we spoke with Ken Kojima of Kojima Sohonten, makers of Toko sake in Yamagata Prefecture.This week we travel to the town of Gose in Nara Prefecture to chat with Chobei Yamamoto who represents 13 generations of sake-making at Yucho Shuzo, best known for their sake brand, Kaze no Mori. Yamamoto-san has not only reinstated the use of traditional kame earthenware pots into brewing, but he’s...


Restoring Tradition: Kame Brewing with Kojima Sohonten

Back in Episode 51 we explored the hard work being invested in restoring kioke, the large-scale traditional wooden tanks that transformed sake brewing in the Edo Period. Thanks to the hard work of many, supply can’t keep up with demand and as more and more breweries are wanting to reintegrate kioke back into their brewing practices and more woodworking craftsman are stepping up to learn the craft.But brewing using kame has been completely abandoned for (probably) at least the past couple...


Kubota: Building and Sustaining an Iconic Label

Last week we focused our energy on examining the Niigata region as a whole. This week we’re once again joined by our same guests, Ms. Kaoru Ito and Mr. Hiroshi Nagamoto from the Overseas Business Department of Asahi Shuzo Sake Brewing Company, makers of Kubota, to delve into the ubiquitous brand of sake almost synonymous with the region of Niigata and celebrated not only in its home territory of Nagaoka, but also throughout Japan and by sake lovers and connoisseurs across the globe.Instead...


Examining Niigata Sake

There’s really no such thing as an “inferior” region for sake production in Japan. A particular region may boast more breweries, higher production volume, or more acreage dedicated to a popular rice variety, but you really aren’t going to struggle to find great sake being made just about anywhere on the island. (In fact, there’s a reasonable argument to support the idea that some of the nation’s most exciting sake is born in some of the less-talked-about regions).Despite that, there are a...


Ginjo: Beneath the Surface

Ginjo is king.Or at least, that’s kind of been a mantra for several generations of more than a few sake lovers, makers, and advocates. Looking at the numbers in recent years, some have dubbed this the current era to be the era of junmai ginjo. (Straight-up ginjo has been faltering a bit, however).Sake classified in the ginjo stratum today aren’t the same as that of yesteryear, and if the depictions of the style further permeating the market today are any indication, ginjo-classified sake...


Our 2022 Predictions

Another year, another chance to set ourselves up for failure with a series of wild predictions!This year the team has independently put together their own lists of predictions and expectations for what the worlds of sake and shochu may have in store for 2022. Intentionally, we haven’t shared or discussed our views with one another in advance in some attempt to produce any “best” answer, so what you hear is a reflection of what each of us is seeing and feeling based upon our own views and...


Digital Kokushu Museum

This past autumn, something really special came into being that all of our sake and shochu-loving listeners ought to appreciate.A project that has been in-the-making for quite some time behind the scenes at the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, the Digital Kokushu Museum offers a rather particular kind of glimpse into the ongoing evolution of tradition and culture of Japan’s iconic and long-celebrated koji-fermented beverages – sake, mirin, and shochu – collectively referred to...


Okawari: Water, Food, and Terroir

A lot of the interview material from our episodes here at Sake on Air winds up on the cutting room floor, but some of it is just too good to let go to waste. With our Okawari series, we raise our glass for a second round of information and insight from our past guest interviews and serendipitous encounters that we just didn’t get enough of the first time around.This week’s Okawari welcomes back three very special guests, each touching upon topics that took place as part of our previous...


Holiday Drinks

Although this particular holiday season may prove to be somewhat of an exception for some – much in the way that many of us assumed 2020 to be an exception – for many people around the world the year winding down and a new year ramping up tends to be a long-awaited opportunity to gather and spend a bit more time with family, friends and colleagues. A natural extension of this is, for many, also a welcome opportunity to open a few bottles of something special that they’ve been hanging on to,...


Future of Sake with Les Larmes du Levant & Kanpai London

Seeing as how we haven’t featured any of our esteemed sake brewing revolutionist friends on the European continent recently, we thought it was about time we check in. This week we’re joined by Tom Wilson, co-founder and head brewer at Kanpai in London, as well as Grégoire Boeuf, kuramoto at Les Larmes du Levant, located in Pélusin, France.While often loosely lumped into the same category, both brewing (excellent) sake on the same continent, the approaches and philosophies of these two...


Three-year Anniversary Special

On October 18th, way back in the distant past that was 2018, we released the first official episode of Sake On Air. Exactly three years to the day, we got the entire crew together to commemorate and celebrate (virtually) along with our listeners and supporters from across the globe.Back at the end of September we still weren’t sure what we would be able to do in order to share this special occasion. The Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center still wasn’t able to host and serve sake or...


Interview with Gautier Roussille

Back in Episode 65 during our discussion with the president of Sohomare, Mr. Jun Kono, another interesting name popped; that of Gautier Roussille.An agronomist and oenologist by trade, Gautier’s exposure to sake back in 2006, followed by years of proactively exploring and researching the category, eventually lead him to a brief foray as a kurabioto at Sohomare, which then inspired one of the most thorough examinations of the sake-making process to be outlined in print in a language other...


Sake Brewing School at Gakkogura

Along with a general interest in sake expanding globally, the number of homebrewers curious to try their hand at sake making and professional brewers setting up formal production operations around the world continues to grow year-on-year at an ever-increasing rate.At the same time, as the population committing themselves to sake both personally and professionally across a range of activities - from sales and distribution to education and evangelism - more and more people are looking for ways...


Listener Questions: August 2021 Edition

This week at Sake On Air we tackle a wide range of sake and shochu-specific topics based upon questions submitted by you, the listeners!Even though we’re always available and eager to engage with our listeners, viewers and followers across all of the online spaces you can find us on, we also recognize that there’s still a great deal more that we could be doing to facilitate that dialogue. This episode is just one small piece of a larger initiative in-the-works to help make that happen.In...


Sparkling Sake Interviews: Ichinokura & Shichiken

Continuing this month’s series examining the world of sparkling sake, this week we bring you a pair of interviews with sake makers that have been instrumental in both evolving and improving the sparkling sake category.Regular host Chris Hughes first sits down with Mr. Hitoshi Suzuki, president of Ichinokura, and sales representative Ms. Erina Nakamura, to discuss what’s largely considered to be the industry’s first commercialization of a naturally fermented sparkling sake product, the...


Deconstructing Sparkling Sake

Of all the requests that we get for various show topics, an episode focusing on “Sparkling Sake” is probably one, if not the most requested topic filling our inbox. So this week, we (finally) bring you the first of two episodes that we’ve put together to help provide a bit of context and perspective for this rapidly expanding style that’s showing no signs of slowing down.This week Chris Hughes, Rebekah Wilson-Lye and Justin Potts break down the range of sparkling sake styles – from the...