Japanese Cuisine · Pop Culture and Japan

Improve Your Knowledge Of Sake By Listening To The Fascinating Sake On Air Podcast

It’s no secret that podcasts have become one of the most popular forms of content. Not only can they be accessed from anywhere, but they also provide a quick source of information for listeners who want to learn about new topics. That’s exactly what’s happened for me by listening to the Sake On Air podcast, a show that explores the wonderfully complex world of sake and the people who are passionate about it.

Who are the cast of characters on Sake On Air?

With support from the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, the podcast has welcomed a variety of sake experts to share their thoughts about the industry. Sake on Air is regularly hosted by sake aficionado Justin Potts and his cohorts shochu pro Christopher Pellegrini, French sake expert Sebastien Lemoine and UK sake educator Christopher Hughes. And let’s not forget the presence of sake maestro John Gauntner, who has lent his expertise on several occasions.

Justin Potts.

The podcast is regularly recorded in Japan and features a range of guests who are connected to the Japanese alcohol industry, such as sake curator Natsuki Kikuya and shochu expert Stephen Lyman. The range of topical discussion on Sake On Air is fascinating, with Potts and his co-hosts taking listeners on a step by step journey through the sake industry.

Subjects that have been covered include sake tourism in Japan, the marketing process of famed sake brands like Masumi and the creation of traditional sake glassware.

What are my favourite episodes?  

While all of the Sake On Air episodes are intriguing, I’ve found the introduction to shochu and differences between junmai and aruten sake editions to be engrossing. Christopher Pellegrini is an expert in his field and it’s brilliant to hear him break down the world of shochu and awamori to people who have never heard of the drinks before.

Christopher Pellegrini.

Shochu is a distilled beverage made from a combination of sweet potato, buckwheat, barley, kokutō brown sugar and other ingredients. In the podcast, Pellegrini describes shochu as a “diet whisky” and points out the differences between shochu and the Korean beverage soju.

His explanation of the Okinawan drink awamori is fascinating as well. Brewed in Okinawa, awamori is made from indica thai rice and black koji mold and is traditionally aged in clay pots to help improve the flavour.

The junmai and aruten episode is useful for anyone who wants to know about the different kind of sakes to try. The conversation between junmai and non-junmai (aruten) sake is a hotly debated topic. Junmai sake is brewed from rice, koji mold and water, while non-junmai is brewed with added distilled alcohol.

Is Sake On Air suitable for people who don’t know anything about sake?

Absolutely! The podcast is ideal for anyone who is curious about trying sake and would like an introduction. Before listening to Sake on Air, my knowledge of the industry was limited. Now, I’ve inspired to learn more and try different sake blends.

Sake On Air is available on iTunes and Soundcloud. If you’d like to get in touch with any questions then email questions@sakeonair.com.

10 thoughts on “Improve Your Knowledge Of Sake By Listening To The Fascinating Sake On Air Podcast

  1. Interesting… Shōchū is greatly overlooked, and there are some astoundingly good products. And because the rules for its production have allowed for a great deal more experimentation, there’s a tremendous range of both quality and flavor available. Sounds like a good source for information.


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