"Ask Beau" July 2005
I recently received an email from Tim G from Oakland, California who asked "Why don't you sell American-made sakes in your store?" Firstly Tim the "store rule" to not carry domestic sakes is purely a reaction to the fact that you can buy most American-made sakes in large grocery stores. Sake from Momokawa, Ozeki, Gekkeikan, Sho Chiku Bai to name a few are available at various outlets, and I seen no reason to double their exposure at the risk of not introducing imported sakes from Japan. The more American sake the less Japanese sake, and it has always been my goal to bring as many Japanese sakes to my customers as possible. Both the heads of Gekkeikan Japan and Gekkeikan USA were in my store and asked the same question. They pressed on as to my opinion of American made sakes, and I was blunt ? I do not like them!
There are many reasons why I do not prefer foreign made sake ? USA, Australia, South America etc. For one we do not have the greatest brewing water, although many local breweries would beg to differ. And secondly we do not have the greatest brewing rice. And of course these two ingredients are the two most important. There is also something also to be said for small batch sakes made by hand with old equipment. This is not the case in the foreign sake example as most facilities are large scale, automated, and are relatively new in scope ? most opened in the early 80's.
All sake is good! But I happen to prefer sake made in Japan. It is up to you the drinkers to try all types of sake, albeit domestic or Japanese made. Sake is an individualistic sport and preferences should always be unique. And of course even bad sake is better than Shochu and wine!
Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ truesake.com. (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All correspondence should use info @ truesake.com.)