July 2011

Sake Environment - Top Ten Reasons Why Sake Should Be More Popular

Posted by Beau Timken in 2011, July, Newsletter
So in last month's Newsletter I wrote a piece called "The TOP TEN Reasons Why Sake Isn't More Popular" and we got a ton of feedback on it. No less than fifteen readers wrote back with their thoughts for each and every reason. And some wrote back that they were impressed with my decision to "call out" sake customers themselves for not making sake more popular. If you didn't read the list perhaps you should!

The TOP TEN Reasons Why Sake Isn't More Popular - June '11

When I submitted the list to the True Sake Team for review Miwa immediately said, "Why not make a list called Top Ten Reasons Why Sake Should Be More Popular?" Hmmmmm? A positive list? Can this negative guy do positive?

Ask and ye' shall receive:

TOP TEN Reasons Why Sake Should Be More Popular:

10) Sake Breweries Are Awesome.
The history of sake is amazing in and of itself, but there would be no history without the families who have been producing sake for hundreds of years. Most consumers have no idea that the vast majority of sake breweries are small family owned and operated businesses that have stood the test of time. Next time you drink sake look at the bottle and you just may see dates such as 1672, 1487, 1723, and even 1147. Heck most breweries are older than our country!

9) The Packaging Is Superb.
If you have ever been in the store you will more than likely hear me utter the words "Yes, the Japanese are packaging sluts" when customers say things such as "I love the labels" and "The boxes are so pretty" and "They don't even need to be gift wrapped." I feel sorry for folks who order sake in restaurants and are denied the chance to watch it get poured. The bottles of varying colors, the labels of various rice papers and designs, and the boxes of various materials are not to be missed. And in a retail setting people do buy sake just for the packaging, and that is when I utter things like "We wouldn't sell it if it looks good but doesn't drink that way." Next time you are in a restaurant ask to see the sake poured.

8) There Is A Sake For Everybody.
Sake making is called the "Industry of 10,000 Methods" which basically means that there are so many different ways of brewing sake. From the rice varietals used to what you ferment in, from the way you "lay-down" or store sake to what you put in it there is an endless amount of different sakes. I once read that you could make 47 different sakes from one tank of the same sake. Add to that the fact that there are over 90 different rice varietals as well as new world sakes such as sparkling, low alcohol, or infused brews and you are talking about a lot of different sakes. In a word there are so many different sakes that even those who say that they don't like sake can find one that agrees with them.

7) Sake Is Built Like Beer But Drinks Like Wine.
Sake tastes like sake! It's incredibly unique, and is a niche libation. Sure there are over 600 documented aroma components for sake. And there are over 400 flavor components that have been identified professionally. But the kicker is that sake tastes like sake. Sure it's made in a fashion similar to beer, but it has more of a wine drinking quality to it. And yet it still tastes like sake. Close your eyes and you may confuse a red wine for a white, but you would never confuse sake for a wine or a beer.

6) Sake Bottles Have Screw Caps.
How is that a selling point? Well what if I told you that if you couldn't finish your bottle of wine or beer that you could screw the cap back on, put it in the fridge, and taste it again a week later? You'd say "No way pal!" As sake is a pasteurized product it keeps far longer than wine or beer once it has been opened - oxidation be damned! Screw that cap back on and keep the enjoyment going! (Oddly, or not oddly, at all some sakes actually do better with a little oxidation, but there is no need ever to decant.)

5) Sake Is Not Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila.
Remember way back when - when all there was on the market was Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila? We didn't know better and basically thought tequila didn't taste that great. Or we had the horrible tequila night that resulted in an even more terrible morning? Sake now is not the same sake that was available long ago in the US, and it is not the same sake that gave you that really rough morning. Folks who give sake a second chance are greatly rewarded, as today's sakes are simply superb!

4) Sake Is Hot.
Of all the libations in the booze world, none have the temperature "abilities" of sake. None are even close. Sake can go from frozen to molten lava hot, and every sake has its own temperature zone "sweet spot." If you are cold then warm some sake up. If you are hot then chill some sake down. Think you love a certain sake chilled, then try it room temperature or lightly warmed. You may love it even more! Many think that hot sake is inferior or bad sake, but bad sake makes for bad hot sake. There are so many wonderful sakes that are good for warming, and it is so much fun finding the warm zones that speak to you and your favorite brews.

3) Sushi Is Not The Only Food That Goes With Sake.
Sure sushi and sake are fun, but sake goes with so many cuisines that aren't sushi. If it comes from the ocean there is no better product than sake to pair with - no way no how! If it comes off a grill, sake is a thrill. If it is a hot soup or stew, than nothing works better than warm sake. Veggies, meats, game, fusion, ethnic, sake works as well if not better than your fermented grape juice. People forget to take sake to the dinner table because they think that it only goes with sushi. Not the case. Sake is a tremendous food-pairing partner.

2) What A Buzz.
Yes we hear it a lot! Folks come in and tell us how wonderful sake makes them feel. They say it is a different type of buzz, not as heavy as spirits and more buzzy than wine or beer. The average alcohol content is 15-16%. This is far lower than spirits and a little more aggressive than wine or beer. (Some wines are 14-15%) But people just seem to enjoy the sake "high" more than other alcohols. Maybe the buzz is a reflection of all of the hard work that goes into making sake, an inspirational high! There are countless legends about drinking sake and writing beautiful poetry or painting incredible works. Sake has a clever calmer buzz!

1) Sake Is A Cleaner Burning Fuel.
Yup! The number one best selling aspect about sake is that it is simply a cleaner animal than other libations. For those who cannot take the preservatives in wine (sulfites) sake is your beast, as it is pasteurized. For those who have acidic or reflux issues, sake has 1/3 the acidity of wine. For those who are greatly affected by histamines, sake has very low histamine levels. For those who cannot stand carbonation, sake is not carbonated. (Some sparkling sakes are though). When you think about sake think 80% - no, not alcohol proof, but sake in its final form is 80% water. Sake is just simply a cleaner burning fuel, and one other very dramatic and important result is that you can drink a good portion and not feel it the next day. So many customers come into the store and say "I never get sake hangovers" or "I can drink several glasses of sake and have no problem at work the next day." Isn't that great? You bet it is and that is why this fact alone is one of the best reasons to like sake. Sake is simply more pure and more clean!

Oh and Lynette reminded me of one last reason that I omitted. In her words: "Because it is damn good!" No argument here.

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