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Icebreaker 2.0 – Philip Harper’s 1.8L Liquid Magic

Icebreaker 2.0 – Philip Harper’s 1.8L Liquid Magic

There are certain sake brewers in Japan that make you want to be a part of their universe. And nobody better represents this than Philip Harper of Kinoshita Sake Brewery (makers of Tamagawa) in Kyoto Prefecture. Philip has created an amazing bevy of loyal sake fans and fanatics to his way of brewing sake. He has his style and the market has responded.


Sake is loyalty. It’s a brewer being loyal to their rice farmers. It’s a brewer being loyal to their community, and of course it’s a brewer being loyal to their employees. They, however, cannot control customer loyalty other than by brewing sake their own way that creates a demand and buzz. And Philip surely knows how to create a buzz with his unique line of brews that really speaks to a segment of the fascinated sake market. It’s a give-and-get scenario. Philip gives creativity, and in return gets exuberant sake geeks who create whole communities on social media extolling the wonders of Tamagawa. It’s a give-and-get and I personally know that he loves it.

One small offshoot of this loyalty and exuberance is the relationship between True Sake and Tamagawa. We too like the giving and getting, the two-way fascination street. We sell a lot of Tamagawa sake, and what’s unique for us is the fact that it sells itself. People come in looking for Tamagawa. That means they’ve had it before in a restaurant and actively seek it out, or they’ve read about it online and must try it for themselves. The result is that we move a lot of Philip’s brew. But there is more. We definitely use Tamagawa in an educational capacity. We get to offer sakes that are so unique and fascinating that they totally define certain expressions of sake. We use Tamagawa like a tool, like a sushi chef uses a knife. We use Tamagawa to teach, and of course, to fascinate. 

And since it’s a give-and-get two way street, Philip does some cool things for us! For example, his world famous Ice Breaker is not available in 1.8L bottles outside of Japan. It’s truly one of the coolest bottles in sake, and you can rest assured that if you see it in an izakaya or bar in Japan, then that institution is good at sake. It’s almost a seal of approval amongst sake fans and aficionados. And it looks damn cool, because it is cool. 

So in a word, we are back in stock of Philip Harper’s 1.8L bottles of Ice Breaker. And we are the only place outside of Japan to say that. Pretty cool. And true to form in the old two way street scenario, last year we made Ice Breaker the Welcome Sake at SAKE DAY 2022, which introduced 1,000 new sake drinkers to Philip’s awesomeness in one afternoon alone. 

How the heck do we top that this year? Ha! I am so glad that you asked. 


Chris Cabrera stated, “Philip Harper’s sakes are bomb proof” when describing to customers what to expect from Tamagawa sake. Several of his brews are massive and meant to be abused in a manner of speaking. Philip has personally told our customers that you can even heat his sake to incredible temperatures and they only get better. You can age them, freeze them, heat them, and even eat them. 


So in honor of Philip and our two way street I’d like to extend an offer to my brother Philip to come to San Francisco and personally harvest my tree-aged 1.8L bottle of Ice Breaker that has aged naturally in the climate of my back yard for the past year and a half through the wet and dry seasons. It’s yours to come and pluck from the branches to witness another expression of beating up Tamagawa sake. 


Tree aging Nama sakes – just another example of True Sake being True Sake.  

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