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Chris’ Sake Corner – Pre SAKE DAY Summary

Chris’ Sake Corner – Pre SAKE DAY Summary

Greetings Sake Fans and Connoisseurs,

Chris here back at it with another newsletter column. This time around, I'll be recapping the week leading up to our annual SAKE DAY 2023 event. The 18th anniversary of this monumental event was a fantastic whirlwind. I don't think I could give THE ORIGINAL SAKE DAY a proper recap, as it was absolutely chaotic yet beautiful. Our fearless leader Beau Timken says this all the time, and I'll paraphrase: "SAKE DAY is like your wedding day. You get to see all your favorite people in one place, but you don't ever have time to talk to anyone specifically." And this is quite true. We got to see both long-time customers, brewers, vendors, importers, distributors, and we also met new ones too (shout out to Kuncho Shuzo from Oita Prefecture for taking a chance on the US sake scene)!

The week leading up to SAKE DAY 2023 was quite fun. We started with an impromptu tasting at 556 Hayes with Masao-san of Takeno Tsuyu Sakagura Co. He came to San Francisco a few days before SAKE DAY with nothing to do. So why not a tasting? Half way through the tasting, some students from Michael Tremblay's Sake Scholar Course came by to hang out as well. And by "some students", I mean some of the heaviest hitters in the US sake scene, including Sake Samurai Marcus V Pakiser.

Masao san pouring sake for the Sake Scholar Course students. Photo: me!
Speaking of Marcus, we had a great talk about Tsuji Co. from Okayama-ken, the makers of Gozenshu. Marcus-san shared with me that Tsuji Co. only makes the Bodaimoto style with Omachi rice. That I did know. This will be difficult to articulate, but it never occurred to me that these guys were from Okayama-ken making the Nara-specific Bodaimoto style. How can you do that? I thought you had to physically be in Nara to make the Bodaimoto style? Of course, that's what we were taught. But Tsuji Co. were the first to do the Bodaimoto style. Tsuji Co. had come across the recipe in a very old book and were the first to revitalize the style. So when Nara Prefecture started going "all-in" on the Bodaimoto movement, Tsuji Co. were allowed to make that style too, even though they weren't using actual temple water from Nara. Sorry if this was too nerdy, but this is what keeps up sake nerds at night. =)

On Friday, the world famous Kosuke Kuji from Nanbu Bijin paid us a visit. What a character. He has done so much for the international sake scene. He saw how important it was to become Non-GMO verified (which is not cheap), as well as vegan friendly, and kosher. Yes, most; if not all sake is vegan, but it's a smart business move to put that on a bottle. The kosher aspect is really intriguing too. I can't say I am an expert on what makes something kosher, but I respect Kuji-san's push to make sake more inclusive.

The legendary Kosuke Kuji of Nanbu Bijin with the Genshu Boys and the Sake Goofs.


After my shift ended on Friday, I made one last pit stop at Hotel Biron before catching the train back home to the East Bay. I got to try some fun new imports from Jesse Pugach at Fifth Taste. His inaugural launch bottles are tremendous, and I would snag any of his new offerings ASAP before they sell out. Jesse did also help us get Koueigiku "Hello! Omachi" in to the US as a True Sake Selection, which is our first ever NAMA under the True Sake banner. A huge gigantic thank you to Jesse! You a real one.

Transporting True Sake omiyage for Kodama-san of Kodoma Brewery. Hisashiburi! ひさしぶり

That's my recap of the week leading up to Sake Day! Sorry I forgot to do a cheat sheet for Sake Day this year, as I heard people were looking forward to that. I plan on doing one next year though!
Till next time,


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