Sake & Miwa - Trade-only Sake Events
JFC SAKE EXPO & FOOD SHOW (Monday, May 17th. 12-5pm.)
|Last year JFC held their first San Francisco Sake Expo at Kabuki Hotel in Japan Town. It drew about five hundred guests. This year, the event was held at The Cypress Hotel in Cupertino. (JFC / Sake Expert)|
Based on the brochure, roughly 110 sakes (nihon-shu) were represented by 27 breweries at the event. (Plus seven shochu companies.) Among the newest were: Kotsuzumi Junmai, Hakutsuru Organic Junmai Ginjo, and Mizubasho Junmia Ginjo Sparkling.
Along the perimeter of a room were sake tables, and in the center were food exhibitors' tables. This layout allowed the guests to snack on food as they sampled sake. In contrast, food was set on the side of the room at the event last year, which gave more focus on sake. The event had a very vibrant feel.
I would have had more highlights if I was able to stay longer, but during my two-hour stay, these things stuck with me.
NA SALES RESTAURANT SHOW (Saturday, June 5th. 9am -3pm)
|Every year I go to this trade show and ended up spending easily five hours. This year I attended the event as a helper at Kamotsuru Brewery's booth. The very important lesson-learned from this day: it takes patience, understanding, respect, and love to promote sake. (NA Sales)
According to the company, 64 sake (nihon-shu) were represented by 15 breweries at the event this year. (Plus, there were two beer breweries, four shochu companies, and one plum wine company.) Among the newest were: Amabuki Daiginjo, Amabuki Gin no Kurenai (rose), Amabuki Yamahai Junmai Omachi, Dassai 39 Sparkling Nigori, Yuuga Junmai Daiginjo, and Hojun Junmai.
The event is always held at their warehouse space in South San Francisco. The space is nicely decorated with banner and panels, so it does not feel industrial. I like this everyday nature of the space. As the name of event suggest, this event showcases food, cooking ware, and dinner ware as well. Everyone who attended seemed busy trying to find a deal or something new.
This year I worked behind a table, pouring samples for the visitors. All the helpers, dressed in black and white, arrived at 8 am and received an orientation talk. When I arrived, most of the exhibitors' tables were set. That meant the brewers, who had just arrived in SF the day before, were up and busy before I got to the venue. I am reminded over and over again how hard they work, and how dedicated they are.
NISHOMOTO TRADING "VIVA LA SAKE!" (Monday, June 21. 12-4pm)
|This year was their first. When I received the invitation form, I noticed two things: the venue being Yoshi's San Francisco and a line to write a liquor license number. I thought, "That's fancy and also smart." (Nishimoto Trading)
Based on the handout, roughly 70 sake (nihon-shu) were represented by 19 breweries. 15 sake were either brand new/yet to be imported. (Plus, two beer breweries, eight shochu/awamori companies-two of which also make nihonshu, one awamori company, and one makkori company.)
An open and beautiful interior with Jazz music in the background made this event very relaxing, and it helped me focus. Many guests seemed to be enjoying eating, drinking and chatting in lounge areas.
Two things at the events stirred a nostalgic feeling in me. I just feel happy to connect and reconnect with something from the past.
While these companies import sake, they also act as distributors for sake that are imported by other companies. Plus, there are sake promotional and marketing entities. The world of sake importing and distribution is a bit of maze. We hope to keep a tab on who's who, so if you know of other trade-only events that are happening around the country, please let us know and we can pass on the info.
P.S. Sometime a random online search leads you to a place you never thought of before. I was just typing "Jizake Japan" and ended up at this business website. I am not sure whether it is cool, good or scary. Those who are in the importing business might want to check this out: Import Genius