As the only affordable sake brewery currently operating in the UK, all eyes are indeed on Kanpai. Yet, the Peckham-based business have much more to recommend them than simple default. Sake enthusiasts Lucy and Tom Wilson opened the trendy microbrewery in 2017, and quickly won the respect of other aficionados across the country, and most impressively of all, from industry operatives and experts back in Japan.
Covered several times already in Yamato Magazine (along with several gushing pieces in the national press), there’s no need for another extensive history here. It’s enough to say that all of the praise is deserved and that Kanpai are in no small part responsible for the ever-increasing interest in sake across Britain.
Lockdown may have stopped hospitality venues from operating normally, but the resiliency shown across the sector should be applauded. Businesses have adapted through embracing eCommerce, offering takeaways and launching virtual events to strengthen their connection with customers.
It’s during this time that I toured my first sake brewery and was able to do so from the comfort of my own home. At a virtual tour of Kanpai Brewery in London, I was able to peek behind the curtain and see how nihonshu is produced and the passion of the people involved.
Sake is a wonderful drink. Versatile, sessionable, complex and simple, all of these words sum up what sake is, even when it might sound contradictory. That’s the beauty of an industry that produces a range of styles suited to different palates.
Falling down the nihonshu rabbit hole can be a rewarding experience, as it provides a window into centuries of Japanese craftmanship. But before setting off on that journey, it’s natural to ask ‘where the hell am I meant to start?’ Good question.
If you’re thinking of trying sake for the first time, here’s a list that’s been put together from experts across the industry. With detailed tasting notes and a background of different breweries, you’ll come away with a deeper appreciation of Japan’s national drink.
Japanese sake is experiencing a renaissance in the west. More information is available for demystifying Japan’s national alcohol, while sake-related organisations, breweries and sommeliers are breaking down misconceptions about nihonshu and experimenting with a variety of amazing flavours.
It’s an exciting time for the sake industry in the UK. A steady surge in popularity has led to consumers seeking more information about Japan’s national alcohol and one of the best places to start your journey into the realm of nihonshu is in the UK’s first sake brewery, Kanpai. Located in Peckham, Kanpai Brewery is the definition of a hidden gem.
The Kokoro Files spotlights the stories of everyday people and their connection to Japan. For Lucy Wilson, Japan inspired her to enter the realm of sake production. Along with her husband, Tom, Lucy is the co-founder of Kanpai Brewery, the UK’s first sake brewery.
It was a pleasure to talk to Lucy about how Kanpai Brewery was created and what it’s like to enter sake into competitions. Read on to learn more about the types of nihonshu and experiences that the brewery offers. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Lucy Wilson”→