Sake Blurb - Germany's Version of True Sake
Over a year ago I received an email from a gal in Germany who stated that she wanted to be the "True Sake" of Germany and if for any reason I needed to travel to Berlin that I should look her up. Well fast- forward to September and voila I did have a reason to go to Berlin and indeed I went to Germany's first sake store.
Susanne Rost like many of us has a fascination for Japan and in particular sake from Japan. Two years ago - roughly - she started selling sake on-line in Germany under the name "Sake Kontor." Her website store is found here:http://www.sake-kontor.de and currently she sells about 45 different products. Earlier this year she wanted to go brick and mortar and open her own store for selling sake, but decided to take a soft approach. Rather than start with just a sake- only store she rented out a small portion (12x12ft) within an all- Japanese goods establishment that sells everything from kimonos to some teas etc. On my first day in Berlin I threw on some running shoes and a backpack and jogged in search of her domain. I mentioned the backpack because it was empty except for a camera when I went there and was loaded with roughly 20 pounds of sake when I left. Have you ever jogged with a bottle-loaded backpack having slept zero hours the night before?
When I got to the store - located on a side street off of a well- traveled shopping district - I was quite proud to duck my head inside and see some pretty well known brands of sake staring me in the face. Along with some cups, sake warmers (with thermometers), and other sake paraphernalia she had a selection of about 24 sakes to choose from. Names like Tamanohikari, Kikusui, Kubota and Akashi-tai were present. But the best part of her store within a store was an actual small fune or sake press. It was old, dark and beautiful and apparently cost more to ship than purchase in Japan.
Susan proudly showed me her wares and we spoke about our common mission - to sell sake to white folks! Her sell is far more difficult in Germany. I gathered that most of the drinkers there were far more set in their ways and preferred German beer and German wine to things from Japan. We talked about her efforts to get people to start drinking sake with more indigenous German foods - she recited my newsletter about taking sake to New Orleans for Cajun food - and said that this has been an uphill process. But I told her to keep at it, meats and fish and cooked veggies all go so well with sake as the starch plays better than a grape juice.
So the next time that you are in Berlin and needing some good sake give Susanne a call or a visit, and by all means please spread the word about this sake foothold in Europe.