Akiko Ohashi with Akira Sake

JFC is one of the premier importing companies that bring sakes into the U.S. and as such they have a yearly trade show which I was lucky enough to attend this year.

JFC has some wonderful sake brands in their portfolio and this year, I got to do one of my favorite things – to meet sake brewers from Japan and talk to them about their sakes. I got in a few questions in my broken Japanese, but in the end we all spoke the language of Nihonshu!

Let’s start with some of the brands that were new to me this time!

Takenosuke Yasufuku with Fukuju Sake

I really enjoyed trying this sake from Kobe – we’re talking about Fukuju sake from Kobe Shinshukan Brewery. This sake in the beautiful blue bottle was extremely balanced and elegant. Refined and pure – Loved it! Brewery President Takenosuke Yasufuku introduced me to this gem. Delicious!

Next I enjoyed a brew from Yamagata Prefecture. I’m talking about a delicious sake from Hatsumomidi Brewery: Harada Muroka Nama Junmai Ginjo. I enjoyed speaking with Brewery President Mr. Yasuhiro Harada. I think I surprised him when I mentioned I’ve been to Yamaguchi several times. This sake was rich and delicious. It’s a satisfying, full bodied, undiluted Muroka style sake.

Later, I got a chance to try some brands that I knew already and really enjoyed trying again, looking under the hood and kicking the tires.

Takakasu Nate with Kurosushi Sake

One recent favorite was Kuroushi Black Bull Junmai Ginjo from Nate Shuzoten Sake Brewery in Wakayama. This Junmai Ginjo is milled to 50% and is a fresh, smooth and citrus-y brew with a touch of richness. It’s instantly like-able and so easy to enjoy.

I got a chance to talk to Brewery President Takakazu Nate and he seemed quiet and reserved, but I think I know – he let’s his sake do the talking. Once sip and you’ll get it.

Next I enjoyed meeting Mareko Shinjo, Senior Managing Director at Suehiro Sake Brewery. This Fukushima brewery has a wide range of sakes being imported into the USA. The most well known may be the Suehiro Ken Daiginjo. It has a fruity aroma and a bit of a dry finish.

Kakutaro Kubo of Ippongi Sake Brewery with Yukie Hashimoto from Sakagura

Now JFC has lots of well known breweries, which made this event such a wonderful experience. In addition to the above, I also enjoyed talking to Akiko Ohashi representing Akira Organic Junmai Sake. I had the pleasure of visiting Kanazawa Daiichi and it was great to see Ohashi-san again! I also caught up with Kubo-san from Ippongi Kubo Honten Sake brewery and I got a taste of his secret Umeshu – Spicy! Plus they had their wonderful seasonal Nama selection on display – watch for it around town.

Shindo-san pouring Gasanryu Sake!

I also had the pleasure of seeing Mr. & Mrs. Murai from Asabiraki Sake Brewery. I’m still dreaming of my sip of Kyokusen Junmai Daiginjo. Last year I also visited Masunobu Shindo in Yamagata. He brews the outstanding Gasanryu Sakes. Always delicious!

Last but not least, I also tasted the wonderful sakes of Daishichi Sake Brewery in Fukushima. These sakes are wonderful and really transport you to another place and time. Really wonderful to enjoy these sakes and taste the full range again. They represent a true achievement in Kimoto sake brewing technique! give them a try!

The JFC event was so much fun, and I learned, and tasted a lot, too. It is always so eye opening to meet the brewers who make the sake happen. Always a thrill. Can’t wait to explore the JFC brews next year!!


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