May 2011

Sake Support - What You Can Do To Help Japan Recover!

Posted by Beau Timken in 2011, May, Newsletter
Family and friends keep asking me what am I going to do? Looking at the television screen they have predicted the demise of the sake industry. The island of Japan is radioactive. Sake is radioactive. You (we) are done for it! It's over. Game over. So they say. And to entertain them I mention that I will be transforming True Sake into a Korean liquor store called True Soju. "You're joking right?" "Right?"

The sake industry is going nowhere. This is a bump in the long road of sake history and despite it being a real axle breaker we are going to come out on the other end at some point. Sake is inevitable, so the current crisis is just another challenge that we will face. A challenge that we will overcome!

Why am I so confident? Because sake is awesome! It's truly one of the most amazing "substances" on earth. From the history to the flavors, from the packaging to the drinkability, from the incredible production process to the versatility of each and every brew sake is unlike anything we have ever been enticed by. As such I believe in sake. I believe that sake is not destined to leave this great planet. Still asking why?

Firstly, sake production is not confined to Japan. There are breweries and brewers all over the world. They will continue to make better and better sake. Secondly, sake production in Japan is not all localized in the Fukushima area. Every other - non damaged or exposed - prefecture is still making sake and planning on next year's production. They are not quitting. In fact, there is a reinvigoration of sorts consuming the sake industry. Thirdly, and this too can be considered a silver lining, the people who sell sake are damn good! We have been battling "perception" issues about sake from day one. And we continue to power through negative or misperception issues on a daily basis. This whole "radiation thing" is just another perception issue that we will plow through. Been there and done that!

In a sense, I am looking forward to the perception battle that we will soon be waging albeit on a different level. I say bring it on. Let's hear those voices saying "Oh I don't want to drink radioactive sake." "No way will I drink nuclear sake." "I don't want my pee to glow." They will come and we will crush them! Plain and simple. That's what we do; we shatter misconceptions. We destroy misperceptions. We in the west have been hand selling a product for more than ten years to a market that was clueless and even worse. We will not let the ignorant steal the day. We have a superb product and we will prevail.

That's what we will do! But what can you do?

Start first by purchasing "Tohoku" or northern Japan sakes. (There are actually 6 prefectures called Tohoku, but we are only focusing on the ones that were the hardest hit by the disaster. For example Yamagata, Aomori, and Akita are also Tohoku, but they were not as severely damaged as these other prefectures.) That was the first reaction and effort in Japan that took hold. The shelves of sake stores were emptied of sakes from the north. It was an act of sake lover's brotherhood. It was an effort to say, "we are there for you." And I feel that we should do the same here in the US. If you would like to help then see the following list of great sakes and "Buy Tohoku." Granted some of the prefectures of the north are not on the list as they were not as damaged as the others.

Our cry for you to drink sake was not the first. That honor went to Kosuke Kuji, the owner of a brewery called Nanbu Bijin, who went on- line via a viral video imploring his fellow countrymen to buy and drink sake.

Tohoku brewers: 'Drink without restraint!' »

The order in Japan was to forgo drinking sake in spring celebrations to honor the dead and destroyed. But this brave sake warrior said no way! He said the best thing people can do is to drink sake and support the recovery via palate and pocketbook.

We wholeheartedly agree.

Check out the following list of "Tohoku" and non-Tohoku sakes that we currently stock at True Sake and do your best to help the recovery efforts.

Iwate Prefecture:
Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai Nama (See The Secret Word) | Nanbu Bijin Junmai Ginjo "Southern Beauty" | Nanbu Bijin Jumai Daiginjom "Ancient Pillars" (If you want we can special order them.)

Miyagi Prefecture:
Urakasumi Junmai Ginjo (JG08) | Urakasumi Junmai (JH03) | Urakasumi Honjozo Genshu (JH18) | Ichinokura Himezen (SP04) | Ichinokura Taru (SP09) | Hoyo Kura No Hana Junmai Daiginjo (DG25) | Hoyo Junmai (JH22) | Hakurakusei Junmai Ginjo (Miwa's Monthly Pick)

Fukushima Prefecture:
Daishichi Junmai Daiginjo "Minowamon" (DG15) | Daishichi Junmai Ginjo "Masakura" (JG21) | Daishichi Junmai Ume-Shu (SP14) | Suehiro "Ken" Daiginjo (DG13) | Suehiro "Poochi Poochi" Sparkling (SP17) | Sasame Yuki Nigori (NI10)

Ibaraki Prefecture:
Hitorimusume Junmai Daiginjo (DG31) | Hitorimusume Nigori (NI03) | Sato No Homare Junmai Ginjo (JG04) | Wataribune Junmai Ginjo Nama (Seasonal)

These next prefectures are not Tohoku, but they suffered badly because of the radiation situation.

Gunma Prefecture:
Mizubasho Ginjo & Mizubasho Junmai Daiginjo (If you want we can special order them.)

Tochigi Prefecture:
Kaika Junmai, Kaika Junmai Ginjo & Kaika Junmai Daiginjo (If you want we can special order them.)

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