Skip to content
Chris’s Sake Corner – A Great Sake Summary of a Great 2023

Chris’s Sake Corner – A Great Sake Summary of a Great 2023

Greetings Newsletter Readers and Connoisseurs,

Chris here, back at it with another Chris' Corner. It's the year 2024, a time where robot cars and artificial intelligence are real, but Delorean time machines are still imaginary, which is quite unfortunate. It's also time to do a cliche "Year in 2023 Review" recap of awesome things that have happened here at True Sake. We officially moved into the new 556 Hayes location in January 2023, during the whole "Bomb Cyclone" rainstorm, which in hindsight was actually not too bad.

In January of 2023, was my unforgettable trip to Niigata and GunmaTen breweries in four days was an absolute whirlwind, but I cannot wait to do it again. We got a few irons in the fire from that trip, that I hope to see come into fruition in 2024. Stay tuned for some cool new Niigata and Gunma sakes!

We launched our third True Sake Selection bottle with Fukugen Shuzo's Fukumimi Junmai Genshu. This is an incredible 3-temp brew from Nagano Prefecture that has quickly become one of my favorite sakes during the winter. This sake also pairs beautifully with Chinese cuisine. Consider Fukumimi for the next time you get take-out Chinese.

We hired Jason! Jason's our newest member of the True Sake Cru. He has come a very long way since we first hired him. You can teach someone about sake, but you cannot teach someone a hard and diligent work ethic in addition to a calm, cool, and collected demeanor. Jason's been a delight to both train and work with. I look forward to how far he goes in the sake world. But don't ask him about Fight Club though.... =)
Our Manager Mei made the cover of Sake Today! How cool is that? We were all very proud of Mei's accomplishments and we definitely shouted our praises from the highest mountain tops we could find. I am grateful to have Mei as the Commander of True Sake. A true delight to work with. She just makes everyone's lives here at True Sake a whole lot easier.

We had a stellar staff Christmas Party in June at Hog Island Oyster Co. in Marshall, California. We rented a van and a driver and we brought the most ridiculous selection of sake to pair with some killer seafood. Our favorite oyster scientist and sake aficionado Dr. Gary Fleener Esq. has been inviting us to Hog Island for quite some time now, and he was a fantastic host. I still daydream about the barbecued oysters we paired with Shirataki Seven Junmai Daiginjo at least once a week.


How can I forget the Jikon and Juyondai  drops we had this year. We have a complicated relationship with hype sake, and anything that is limited edition. We do our best to make it fair for all of our customers, both online and in person. While Jikon Tokubetsu Junmai is my personal favorite sake of 2023, there are plenty of other great sake that we carry that are usually readily available. Looking forward to what 2024 brings us regarding the hype frenzy. A special thank you to Jamie, Lok, Web, and Trac.

SAKE DAY 2023 was a smashing success. All my favorite sake celebrities were in town and it was just an absolute pleasure to talk shop with someone new. We poured our entire True Sake Selection lineup for the first time at SAKE DAY. We snuck ourselves into the show and poured some of our favorite hand-selected sake, which I believe wow'd a lot of Sake Day attendees. Hopefully our TSS #5 will be available to share with you all at SAKE DAY 2024. What is TSS #5 going to be? You're gonna have to stay tuned!

Speaking of True Sake Selections, how could I forget TSS #4? We were also able to partner with Jesse P (aka Skateboard P) at Fifth Taste to launch our 4th True Sake Selection, and our 1st Nama under the TSS banner. Kouegiku is one of the hottest sake breweries on the planet right now, and Omachi is quite possibly my favorite rice varietal. The stars aligned and we have a tremendous modern sake from Saga on our hands. I was looking up "hotter than..." phrases and my Google searches came up with, "hotter than a two dollar pistol" and "hotter than a set of twin babies." Kouegiku is hotter than both of those things. 
And lastly, I cannot forget to mention our newly christened True Sake Tasting Counter! One of many reasons why we moved to 556 Hayes was to utilize the tasting license. While we're not a full on bar, we had many of our importer/distributor/brewery friends in the industry help spread the gospel of sake, while pouring delicious nectar from the gods (yes, I'm still talking about sake). 

Chris Johnson aka the Sake Ninja of World Sake Imports was the very first to test drive the tasting license. Other friends of ours that poured delicious sake include Sequoia Sake from San Francisco California, Bix Imports with their debut of our True Sake Selection Fukumimi Junmai Genshu from Nagano, the triple threat of Taiheikai, Kameizumi, Fuku Chitose courtesy of Kobrand Wine and Spirits, Soto Sake, Richard Geoffroy and his powerhouse brand IWA 5, Heavensake and their wonderful blends, Suzuki Marketing  with the debut of their W series by Watanabe Shuzoten of Gifu, Den Sake from Oakland California, Shirataki Sake Brewery from Niigata, the dapper Eduardo Dingler showcasing the bold and lively Takachiyo from Niigata, Tsukinokatsura from Kyoto aka the coolest kids in the room, and lastly my favorite sake family, the Kodamas from Kodama Jozo in Akita. Sorry if I missed anyone!  


Whew! That's a lot of words. If you got this far, thank you for reading! Thank you to all my sake friends and family, old and new, that I met or connected with in 2023. Here's to a bigger and better 2024! And as always, thank you to Beau and Mei for giving me a platform to babble.

Nominated 5th Best True Sake Employee of 2023 
Previous article Sake Disaster – Ishikawa Earthquake and Recovery Efforts
Next article Sake Event - Fuyu Fest 2024 In Portland With Nina Murphy