Take in the big picture

By Yuji Matsumoto
From the beginning, the successful foreign alcoholic beverage in the U.S. is of course wine. Not limited to French or Italian restaurants, wine selections are also offered in Japanese, Chinese and Mexican restaurants as well. Moreover, supermarkets carry hundreds of wine selections, while there are no stores that don’t carry wine. While it’s difficult to compare sake to wine without considering cultural background and history, it’s important to reference both if the goal is to become the world’s next alcoholic beverage to be consumed with meals. There is still much to learn in setting the profitability, sales & distribution routes and marketing methods. Also, another hard liquor that is not originally found in the U.S. and has proven successful in the market is tequila. Tequila is also a product that’s sure to be found almost 100 percent in any restaurant that serves distilled liquor.
Here is another area that leaves much to be learned for the shochu and sake industries. This is only in reference to California (where restaurants offer Soju and Shochu), where some places debate whether to import Soju or not: it’s best to develop a larger market. Also, it’s important to ask why tequila gained such a huge market share. The development of representative cocktails like margaritas and advertisements along with efforts by both the industry and nation has proven effective.
Since the Japanese sake and shochu industry cannot complete a simple task like the standardization of labels, proposing global strategies is surely a goal for the distant future.


もともと他国のアルコールで米国で成功しているのはもちろんワイン。何もフランス料理店やイタリア料理店に限らず、日本食店、中華料理やメキシカン料理店でもワインは必ず置いてある。ましてはスーパーには何百という品ぞろいがあり、ワインを置いてないところは無い。もちろん、日本酒をワインと比較することには文化的背景や歴史を考慮すると無理があるが、世界の食中酒を目指すなら参考にするべきだ。利益率の設定、販売流通網、マーケティング方法などは見習うべきだ。また、もともと米国になく成功しているハードリカーにテキーラがある。このテキーラも蒸留酒を扱えるレストランなら100%と言っても過言ではなく置いてある商品だ。ここにも焼酎や日本酒の業界が勉強する点がある。カリフォルニア州のみの話(Soju とShochuuの取り扱える店)ではあるが、業界はSojuとして輸入する、しない等、意味のない議論をしているところもあるが、もっと大きな市場開拓に目を向けるべきである。そして、テキーラがなぜこれだけ増えたかを考えるべきだ。マルガリータを代表としたカクテルの開発と宣伝など、業界と国の努力がここに来て功を奏している。

#cocktails #sake #shochu #soju #tequila #wine


Sake Nation: “Craft Gin and Vodka: Part 2”

By Kosuke Kuji
The last issue covered how the coronavirus pandemic inspired our production of craft gin and vodka as a new business. Although the initial plan was to produce gin only, the decision to also produce craft vodka was made along the way, which I’ll explain in another issue.
First, Japan’s first domestically produced craft gin pioneered by the recent release of “KI NO BI” in Kyoto sparked the gradual launch of craft gin distilleries in Japan.
The greatest appeal of craft gin is the adherence to one rule - use Juniper berry with ingredients that determine the aroma components, such as “botanicals” – allows the use of various botanicals.
In other words, the selection of botanicals add regional characteristics effectively, another appeal of craft gin. The Nanbu Bijin craft gin uses “Japanese lacquer,” the highest volume of world-class botanicals proudly produced in Ninohe city, Iwate prefecture, Japan, where Nanka Bijin is based.
Japanese lacquer of Ninohe city is registered as UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage and as Japan Heritage, used as an adhesive to apply gold onto the Kinkaku-ji Temple and to repair the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, an important cultural heritage that supports the national treasures of Japan.
The Japanese lacquer tree is scorched to use as botanicals to produce craft gin abundant in regional characteristics, possible only in Iwate prefecture.
Sake rice left over from the pandemic is used to produce the base alcohol.
This gin made from Japanese lacquer is one-of-a-kind worldwide; a truly valuable craft gin released from Iwate prefecture to Japan to the world, now complete.

酒豪大陸「クラフトジンとウォッカ その2」

#flavor #gin #japanese #sake #vidka


Compatibility between Sake and Japanese Cuisine

Also, clean and dry sake mild in distinct flavor along with pure sake pairs well with any food.
Aromatic sake and refreshing sake pair well with acidic foods or food prepared from bland food ingredients, while pure sake pairs well with simmered and stir-fried cuisines, food that line the dinner table daily, and food flavored with milk and butter.
Rich foods pair well with hot sake rich in flavor and refreshing sake.
Next, let’s think about foods compatible with Japanese sake.
Foods that pairs well with sake evolved since traditional sake fans once licked salt and miso paste while enjoying sake.
Sake is not selected to match the food, yet foods can be selected to enhance delicious sake flavors.
Appetizers paired with sake are unique dishes for which the Western counterparts are rarely found.
Traditionally, licking salt or miso paste is a unique way for true sake fans to enjoy sake.
Appetizers served with sake also tend to be salty, such as salted and dried mullet roe or salted fish guts.
Similar to sake, rice crackers and snacks are also made from rice and contain salt, thus pairs well with sake.
On the other hand, chocolates, cheese, and nuts enhance the sake flavor.
First, classic appetizers paired with Japanese sake consist of salted fish guts, dried mullet roe, and other classic delicacies served in the industry.
Strong salt flavor and rich fermentation flavor enhances the sake flavor.
Nuts faintly aromatic like rice and fermented food products like cheese pair well with sake, along with sweets like chocolate.


#flavor #japanese #pairing #sake #wine


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (All Nippon Product Fair)

By Ryuji Takahashi

“All Nippon Product Fair,” titled traveling through Japan in three days, was organized by the Central Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry, and held over three days in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo in the Sunshine City building complex from November 19-21.
This product fair held one day longer than last year after the state-of-emergency declaration was divided into three sections. The food court sold food products, Japanese sake and beer; the souvenir section like tourist spots sold crafts and processed foods, and the farm booth sold agricultural and processed products. Many products are sold only in their production region, thus visitors packed the exhibition booths. Approximately twenty sake breweries exhibited sake products at the food court, where the Ginjosai Ambassador Award 2021 was held concurrently to rank each sake product divided into Ginjo and Junmai categories. Each sake brewery invited customers passing by to sample their sake products for only 100 JPY per cup in a vigorous PR effort to compete for the Gold Prize.
As a result, the Gold Prize for the Junmai category was awarded to Tokubestu Junmai by Nanbu Bijin, the Silver Prize to Kimoto Junmai by Kunimare Brewery, and the Bronze Prize to Junmai Dry of Hananomai Brewery.
For the Ginjo Category, the Gold Prize was awarded to Junmai Daiginjo of Tada Tada (Takeuchi Brewery), the Silver Prize to Daiginjo of Nanbu Bijin, and the Bronze Prize to Junmai Ginjo of Kunimare Brewery.
In this manner, real-time feedback received onsite from real consumers was helpful to sake producers as well.
Most importantly, many booths in the food court served delicious foods enticing sake drinkers. Prices dropped on the last day with enthusiastic pitches to sell off the remaining food products, encouraging potential buyers to loosen their purse strings, another thrill of attending product fairs. Every few hundred meters, exhibitors offered fifty percent off, leaving no choice to shoppers but to buy. My paper bag was filled with spare ribs, chicken karaage (deep-fried), dim sum, etc. It was interesting to see booths advertising voluminous meat products on large posters, banner flags, and various other mediums lined with customers. Desserts were sold concurrently along with a project that ranked Japanese sweets from nationwide. Confectionaries exhibited products from nationwide in an effort to ignite the next new dessert boom.

The top ranking dessert for 2021 was the baked kolone from Okinawa prefecture. The “Okinawa Nama Kolone” is an original kolone pastry filled with a cream made from an Okinawan fruit. Other renowned confectionaries from each prefecture lined the booths with enticing confections, an impressive line-up that hinted at a possibility of a future boom. More visitors attended this lively product fair than the previous year. With the threat of the coronavirus completely eliminated, I anticipate a new boom based on this exhibition.


#beef #contest #covid19 #daiginjo #jizake #junmai #kura #master #paris #saga #sakagura #sake #tokyo #wagyu


Expectations of non-Japanese restaurants

By Yuji Maatsumoto

I was blessed with an opportunity to attend a lecture targeting salesmen for a wholesaler of Japanese food products in the U.S. The attendees handle various Japanese food products including sake. The theme of the lecture was not so much about the consumer’s question of “Which sake to buy,” but centered more on how to get chefs / restaurant owners, not limited to Japanese cuisine by non-Japanese restaurant owners / chefs, to purchase sake?
First, it’s important to determine what type of cuisine is served, targeting whom.


The beverage is narrowed down with the understanding that depending on the cuisine served, the sake to be offered will change accordingly.
Secondly, check to see the prices of popular and top-selling wines for that restaurant.
To start, it’s important to start with a price set that’s appropriate for their target audience.
Thirdly, have the staff understand it’s appropriate to serve sake in wine glasses.
Fourth, the servers discussed how to explain the characteristics of each sake brand, and how to determine the compatibility of each brand with the cuisine.
Unfortunately, sake still has not become widespread to the point that shelving them in stores will be enough to sell the brand on its own. The reality is, sake is still a product to be sampled by customers following recommendations by servers. Until now, sake was mostly consumed in Japanese restaurants. In the future, we’d like to anticipate sake sales to non-Japanese restaurants as well.







#breweries #daiginjo #junmai #kura #sake #tasting #wine


Sake Nation: “Craft Gin and Vodka: Part I”

By Kosuke Kuji

The widespread novel coronavirus depleted supplies of rubbing alcohol across Japan early in the pandemic and created a supply shortage.
Therefore, regulations were relaxed on an emergency basis for sake breweries like my own to produce rubbing alcohol, as I wrote before in this series.
I met disabled children requiring lifelong care and their families, who thanked me saying, “thank you for saving lives.” To ensure these families lifelong supplies of rubbing alcohol, I vowed to continue “local production (of rubbing alcohol) for local consumption” to service the approximately 200 patients in Iwate prefecture. As I wrote before, the production of Japanese sake decreased dramatically at the same time, with plenty of leftover sake rice originally allocated for contracted farming.
To continue the production of rubbing alcohol indefinitely requires a license for the authorized production of “spirits.” This license to produce spirits also authorizes the production of gin and vodka, along with distilled, highly concentrated alcohol for which the leftover sake rice can be used. Nanbu Bijin decided to produce craft gin and vodka as a new business during the coronavirus pandemic.
I, along with other Japanese sake breweries, decided to start new businesses in this manner.

酒豪大陸「クラフトジンとウォッカ その1」

#flavor #japanese #pairing #sake #wine


Pairing Japanese Sake with Foods


Bad pairing refers to the delicious flavor diminished when sake is paired with food.
Depending on the combination, the sake flavor may counter the flavor of the food, generating unpleasant aroma and texture.
In many cases for example, sake may enhance the odor of fish and seafood. On the other hand, we want to avoid combinations where the balance between the sake vs. food flavors are bad and completely overwhelms the flavor of the paired item.

Therefore, let’s confirm the following.
-Does Japanese sake pair well with other foods besides Japanese cuisine?
Japanese sake pairs well not only with Japanese cuisine, but also with various other cuisines such as Western, Chinese, and ethnic cuisines. In addition, Japanese sake also pairs well with food ingredients other than Japanese food products such as butter, cheese, and spices.

- Flavor of sake paired with food is characteristic by sake type.
For each sake type, certain combinations pair well. Depending on the sake classification type, food that pairs well differs according to the flavors and aroma.
For example, mellow sake pairs well with rich foods, pure sake pairs well with foods strong in umami flavor, refreshing sake pairs well with refreshing foods, and aromatic sake pairs well with light foods.
Now, let’s pair specific sake with foods.
The basic approach when selecting sake is whether to pair sake similar in flavor (to the food), or to pair the food with sake completely different in flavor. Combining sake with foods similar in flavor ensures the best compatibility. For example, sweet foods are compatible with sweet sake, while spicy foods are compatible with acidity sake. On the other hand, combining alcohol with a unique, different flavor can generate a new delicious flavor. This type of phenomenon is referred to as ‘marriage’ in the wine world, also slightly more difficult to pair.





#flavor #japanese #pairing #sake #wine


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (A Journey of Sampling Delicious Foods from Saga Prefecture)

By Ryuji Takahashi

The state of emergency is now lifted nationwide, with sake and food events held in various regions.
Meanwhile, “Omi City’s Delicious Specialties and Quality Consumer Goods Fair” was held at the shopping center Viva City Heiwado in Hikone city, Shiga prefecture for twenty-five days starting October 20. This event (food fair) is where locals rediscover delicious foods and beverages of Saga prefecture, while visitors newly discover the local specialties of Saga prefecture, a fun food fair that showcase various food products.
Omi Beef (Japanese Black Wagyu Beef) raised in Saga prefecture is representative of Japan. Omi Beef is said to have sparked Naosuke Ii’s Sakuradamon Incident. One of the top three major Wagyu brands representative of Japan, Omi Beef not affordable for the general consumer’s dinner table is casually sold as processed food in croquettes (beef and mashed potato patties breaded and deep-fried), minced meat cutlet, and curry bread at this food fair. An opportunity to enjoy this beef brand is great news.
Saga prefecture offers essential flavors from Lake Biwa (“Mother Lake”) such as sweetfish, Biwa salmon, Funazushi (fermented sushi). Not to get off topic, funazushi is fermented sushi, significantly different from the general nigiri (hand-pressed) sushi or rolled sushi. Protein in the crucian carp turns into amino acid, releasing a distinct, cheese-like fermentation odor. A divisive food product that people either like or dislike, funazushi is one of the delicacies paired with sake that is representative of Japan.
Japanese sake is required to enjoy funazushi and other fish from Lake Biwa (“Mother Lake”). This year, Echi Shuzo introduced previously exhibited mainly their “ TOMITSURU Junmai-Daiginjo Pleasure Omen” awarded the Platinum Prize in Kura Master 2021 held in France; along with “TOMITSURU Tokubetsu-Junmai Chikurin” awarded the Grand Gold Prize.
I previously organized an event that paired culinary flavors from Lake Biwa (“Mother Lake”) in Saga prefecture with sake produced in Aichi prefecture. I recall both Funazushi (fermented sushi) and boiled sweet fish were very compatible with rich sake from Aichi prefecture, rare in Eastern Japan. Sake with fruity or subtle flavors may likely be overshadowed by the strong flavors from Lake Biwa (“Mother Lake”), full of vitality.
Since regional culture and local sake flavors are developed together over a long period of time, local foods are perhaps best rediscovered when consumed with local sake, another recommendation to enjoy food fairs. As the coronavirus pandemic mostly subsided, food fairs will resume in various regions. Since travel across prefectures is now permitted, visiting various regions is surely fun. On the other hand, why not search for delicious local specialties for the first time in a long time?


 緊急事態宣言が全国的に解除になり、各地で酒や食のイベントが開催されるようになってきた。そんな中、10月20日から25日の期間、滋賀県彦根市に有るショッピングセンタービバシティ平和堂にて「近江うまいもんええもん市」が開催された。このイベント(物産展)は、地元の人は滋賀県の美味しい食ベ物や飲み物を再発見出来、他県の人は滋賀県の魅力を新発見できる楽しさ満載の物産展である。まず、滋賀県と言えば近江牛である。近江牛とは黒毛和種の和牛が滋賀県内で飼育されたものであり、井伊直弼の桜田門外の変のきっかけになったという俗説があるくらいの日本を代表するブランド牛である。三大和牛の一つとも言われるくらいのブランド牛なので、なかなか庶民の食卓には並びにくいが、この物産展では、コロッケやメンチカツやカレーパンとして気軽に買える加工品として売られていた。少しでもこのブランド牛を味わえるのは嬉しい限りである。そして滋賀県と言えば琵琶湖の味覚である。小鮎・ビワマス・鮒寿司は滋賀県の味覚として欠かせないだろう。少し話が脱線するが、この鮒寿司とは、一般的な寿司屋の握りや巻物の寿司とは大きく違い、どちらかと言えば発酵食品の仲間である。鮒のたんぱく質がアミノ酸へと変化したチーズの様な独特の発酵臭があり、人によって好き嫌いは大きく分かれる食品だが、酒のつまみとしては日本の誇る珍味の一つである。鮒寿司に関わらず、琵琶湖の魚を味わうに必要なのが日本酒である。今回は、以前も紹介した愛知酒造が出店しており、フランスクラマスターのプラチナ賞を受賞した「富鶴 純米大吟醸紫雲」や、同じくフランスクラマスター、プラチナ賞受賞・スペイン国際酒類コンクール、グランドゴールド賞受賞の「富鶴 特別純米竹林」などをメインに販売が行われた。私は以前、滋賀県の琵琶湖の味覚と愛知酒造の酒を合わせるイベントをおこなった事があるが、東日本側には少ない重厚な愛知酒造の酒に鮒寿司や小鮎の甘露煮が非常に合うのを体験している。フルーティな酒や線の細い味わいの酒では琵琶湖の生命力あふれる力強い味覚には負けてしまうだろう。その土地の文化と酒の味わいは長年一緒に育ってきたのであるから、地の物は地の酒で飲むべきだと再認識出来るのも物産展の楽しみ方かもしれない。コロナ禍が収まりつつあり、今後も各地方で物産展が再開されるだろう。県をまたぐ移動が出来るようになり、各地に旅行も良いが、久々に地元のうまいもんええもんを探してみてはどうだろうか。

#beef #contest #covid19 #daiginjo #jizake #junmai #kura #master #paris #saga #sakagura #sake #tokyo #wagyu


Sake Tasting

By Yuji Matsumoto

To be able to taste sake, the most importing to do is to identify and set your own tasting criteria. The criteria are not based on one’s preferences, so one must find the foundation that become the basis for judging various sake. One must have that foundation in place to be able to recognize aroma, acidity, body and umami, that different types of sake have. Knowledge and information that you gather would supplement that to help correctly and fairly assess sake products.
So how can one establish that foundation for establishing your own tasting criteria? Here is the quickest and least expensive way of doing it, based on my own experience.
First, buy low-priced sake at a store. Try it every day for 15 days, even if you don’t like it or it’s simply horrible (some people may need 20 days). Do not drink it until it makes you drunk. It’s most important that you drink a certain amount every day, even if it’s just enough to fill an ochoko (tiny sake cup). Do not try other sake while you’re trying one.
Stop for two to three days to rest your liver, then do a tasting of a different sake. You will probably realize that you can profile the sake to surprising details. The differences in acidity, the body, aroma, and umami, as well as aftertaste intensity – you should be able to clearly tell those differences.



#breweries #daiginjo #junmai #kura #sake #tasting #wine


Sake Nation “Sake Rice Leftover due to the Coronavirus Pandemic: Part 4”

By Kosuke Kuji

We made the decision to continue producing rubbing alcohol indefinitely for the most vulnerable - disabled children needing constant medical care. However, as stable supplies of commercial rubbing alcohol are now available in the market, rubbing alcohol produced by sake breweries have fulfilled its purpose. However, I decided to continue producing rubbing alcohol for local consumption to ensure ample supply is continuously available for disabled children in Iwate prefecture.
To continue production long-term, our brewery license was relaxed to allow production of rubbing alcohol as an exception. In the future however, we must obtain a spirit production license, which requires capital for high-concentration alcohol distillery equipment. Everyone objected to investing in equipment for our rubbing alcohol that hardly generates any sales. However, I’m firm in my decision.
Research on alcohol produced using a spirit production license revealed “gin” is an option.
Recently, craft gin such as “KI NO BI” from Kyoto is gaining popularity in Japan and gradually across the world.
Craft gin can be scented with botanicals characteristic of the local community, thus easy to express locality.
Most importantly as sake brewers, we should expand beyond rubbing alcohol to use our Japanese sake brewery to distill gin, while also producing rubbing alcohol on the side. We made the decision to produce craft gin.
Leftover sake rice is used to create the ingredient - Japanese sake – one time, then distilled to highly concentrated alcohol. Sake left over from this will not necessarily be consumed, but reinvented as gin for consumption.
Our craft gin produced from leftover sake rice will also be released in the U.S., so please stay tuned!

酒豪大陸「コロナで余った酒米 その4」


#alcohol #coronavirus #covid #pandemic #sake


  • ブログルメンバーの方は下記のページからログインをお願いいたします。
  • まだブログルのメンバーでない方は下記のページから登録をお願いいたします。
    現在 7/23 ページ
  1. <<
  2. <
  3. 1
  4. 2
  5. 3
  6. 4
  7. 5
  8. 6
  9. 7
  10. 8
  11. 9
  12. 10
  13. 11
  14. >
  15. >>