May 2015

Sake Celebration – Finally Visited Sake Nomi In Seattle

Posted by Beau Timken in 2015, May, Newsletter, Sake Celebration, Sake Nomi

Sake Nomi May 2015aSo my sister invited me to visit her place in Seattle, and since it’s such a cool city who could say no? Not me! Fast forward to my two stellar daughters and I walking through Pike Place Market looking at such highlights as the “Wall of Gum” and flying salmon.This was the warm up to what I really wanted to check out! For years I have heard stories and reports about a sake store that opened in Seattle, and a cool guy named Johnny who ran the place. And for years I have told people if you are ever in Seattle go to Sake Nomi and check it out for me. (I have also sent customers who were visiting Seattle a bottle of sake to give to Johnny – even though we had never met.)





Owning a sake store is a labor of love and there are only a few passionate souls out there doing it. So in a sense we are all kindered spirits, and I openly root for all of us as we are doing the Lord’s work! I have a ton of respect for each and every person who has dedicated themselves to pushing sake for a living. We are a unique breed, and I have been told that Johnny is one of the most unique.


So with daughters in tow I made an unannounced visit to Sake Nomi.


Sake Nomi May 2015c

When I opened the door to the shop I immediately saw the tasting bar/counter and I thought to myself, “lucky duck!” I hesitated for a second, because I saw a sign that read “21 and Over.” As I stood momentarily paused in the doorway a white guy with a Japanese dew rag on his head looked up and said, “Beau?” (Sake souls have extra-perceptive senses) I sheepishly said yes and we walked in, all three of us including the 11 and 15 year-old who Johnny was looking at.


Basically kids are not allowed in Sake Nomi because it is a bar, but I asked if they could hide in the corner. I really wanted the girls to see the space, because they grew up in a sake store and I wanted their opinions. Johnny said it was cool and I told the girls to move away from the windows – Ha! And then we took it in. It was surrealistic to be in another sake store, and I walked around one part as a customer, one part as a sake fan, and one part as a competitor of sorts. My mind was wearing several caps.


There were several people sitting at the bar and I could not take my eyes or mind off of them. How different would True Sake be if I had a tasting bar/counter? Well in a word I know! (That is why when we open the next True Sake it will definitely have a tasting bar component to it!) Johnny looked very comfortable talking to the cusotomers and I could tell several of them were repeat offenders. They knew Johnny and they knew sake! “Cool” I thought to myself.


Sake Nomi May 2015c

As I walked around the “store” part of Sake Nomi I began looking at the shelves and in particular the sake offerings. I didn’t see price. I didn’t see asthetics. I only “saw” the different types of sakes that Johnny offered and the ones that we at True Sake didn’t. For the most part he carried lots of brews that I carry, used to carry, or temporarily didn’t carry. But there were a few “Hey what the heck is this?” sakes that drew my attention. And I was reminded of the old adage that “Desire rests in the wanting not the having.” (I noticed in particular Nanbu Bijin’s Shinpaku, and in honor of Johnny I will make that my sake this month for the Beau-Zone Layer


The girls would later say that they “Like True Sake better!” but of course they are partial. I liked the bar feel of Sake Nomi and I could tell that Johnny did a great job making people feel comfortable with sake. We parted with a handshake and hug and the unsaid commitment that we both will keep doing the Lord’s work to the best of our abilities. Thank you Johnny!


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