Browsing London Sake’s expansive range, it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed by choice. Sometimes, even for an experienced nihonshu connoisseur, the best approach is simply to choose a bottle with a beautifully, striking label and hope that the contents measure up. This tactic (which has generally served me well with both unfamiliar sake and craft beer purchases in the past) goes a way to explaining how I ended up in the possession of Tamagawa’s 2019 ‘Red Label’ Heirloom Yamahai Genshu.
When it comes to sake categories, sparkling sake is growing in popularity, due to the similar characteristics it shares with champagne and because there’s a lot of creativity going on in the space. So, when a sparkling sake producer pops up in the UK, it’s something to shout about and that’s certainly the case with The Sparkling Sake Brewery.
Based in the suburbs of Cambridgeshire, The Sparkling Sake Brewery is the first of its kind in the UK and there’s a great story behind its genesis. Read on to learn more about the philosophy of the brewery and where it hopes to take sparkling sake in the future.
Domestically and internationally, sake has experienced a rise and fall across a period of several decades. Trends have come and gone, attitudes have shifted and a pandemic has caused a huge impact on how sake is sold, consumed and shared all over the world.
The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS) recently hosted an event that showed the current state of the sake industry and how it could evolve over the coming years.
Iin this article, we’ll look at the key takeaways from the event.
When it comes to versatility, sake is arguably the best drink to choose in terms of texture, flavour, food pairing and serving temperatures. And while I’ve enjoyed trying plenty of premium ginjo sake, there’s a whole world of other categories to drink my way through and a style I’ve been drawn to lately is futsushu.
As table sake, futsushu isn’t considered a premium grade of nihonshu, but that has nothing to do with its quality and if you’ve never tried futsushu then you’ll want to dive in with the incredible Komachi Sakura.
Practicing philosophy invites the opportunity to bring it into aspects of life that you may not have thought about initially. In my case, I’ve become interested in the philosophy of Stoicism and over the course of learning, it’s made me curious to see how it could be introduced into other topics I find intriguing.
It’s for that reason I’m exploring Stoicism through the lens of sake brewing and how the four Stoic principles of courage, wisdom, temperance and justice is embodied in the sake industry.
In the UK, sake is experiencing something of a revolution through the likes of places like Moto and Kanpai Brewery in the South of England and The Sparrows in the North. Distributors are also leading the charge for getting nihonshu into the hands of the masses, with London Sake being at the forefront of the conversation.
With an ever-growing and diverse portfolio of sake and shochu to choose from, London Sake is a brand that should be on the list of sake fans across the UK and beyond.
I first encountered Morikuni Sake Brewery Co. Ltd (increasingly referred to as Shodoshima Shuzo) via their Hachi Hachi 88 junmai. Using local Oseto rice polished down to just 88%, the golden-coloured thick and nutty brew certainly grabbed my attention as one of the most unique junmai classification sake I’d experienced, and left me longing to try more of the small and very young (established 2005) company’s offerings.
I am delighted to say that tonight I achieved just that, finally getting my hands on each of the beautifully presented 300ml bottles of the Shodashima No Kagayaki range daiginjo and junmai daiginjo (stylised as ‘daiginjyo’ on the labels) via Ukiyo Republic’s online Japanese sake store.
The rise of sake continues to be felt in the West, with new breweries emerging every year like bubbles on the surface of the moromi that’s so crucial to nihonshu making. This renaissance is especially true in America and one of the newest American sake breweries on the block is Wetlands Sake.
Based in New Orleans, Wetlands Sake is all about combining southern hospitality with the craftsmanship of excellent sake brewing.