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"Ask Beau" - "How Much Rice Is Needed To Make One Bottle of Sake?"

ask beau july 2008Oh the wacky timing called life! I was at a sake tasting last night with Masao Aisawa from Takenotsuyu Brewery (Yamagata) and during our co-lecture a woman asked a question along the lines of how much rice is needed to make a certain amount of sake. Fast forward to checking the "Ask Beau" email account today and voila almost the exact same question from Pam in Redwood City, CA:

Dear Beau,With all the talk of rice shortages and whatnot I was wondering how much rice is used in the sake making process. For example how much rice is needed to make one bottle of sake?" I love your store and your employees are awesome. Keep up the great work.


If I weren't from the generation of American kids who revolted against the metric system - yes you can thank me! - then I could have made a witty comment about it taking roughly 20 boxes of Uncle Ben's rice to make one big bottle of sake. But alas I am a metric conversion meathead and cannot really put the exact number of Uncle Ben's boxes to bottles. That said I do know that when sake rice farmers harvest their golden brown babies they put their efforts into 30-kilogram bags. In this regard, and for terms of understanding larger quantities I have been told by those in the know that it takes 2 of these 30 kilogram bags (for a total of 60 kilos) to make 40 ishobin (1.8Lbottles of sake - the big magnum looking bottles).

Break that number down even further and for your best point of reference just think that it takes 1.5 kilograms of rice to make one ishobin (1.8L) bottle of sake.

Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All other correspondence should use info @

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