The Dassai Experience: What’s New Yamaguchi?!

For two months earlier this year, I lived and worked at Asahi Shuzo, makers of the world famous Dassai super premium sake in Yamaguchi, Japan. My goal was to learn about the real life in a sake brewery and learn the basics of sake brewing for myself. I’m back in New York from this amazing experience and starting today, I’ll be posting regularly on my experiences living and working at this premier sake brewery.

When I first arrived in Yamaguchi, one of the first things I did was take a tour of my new town. My hosts, the Sakurai Family, owners of Asahi Shuzo, showed me around what would be my home for two months: nostalgic Takamori, Yamaguchi. I would be living in an apartment right next to the Dassai rice milling factory.

Take a look at this gallery of photos and my notes to get a feel for my surroundings as I arrived in Japan. Stay tuned for more posts soon on life and work at Dassai!



Friday, May 6th, 2011
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Sakagura cordially invites you to “FUKUCHO NIGHT”!

Miho Imada

Fukucho brewery ( was founded in the first year of the Meiji Restoration, 1868, in Akitsu in Hiroshima Prefecture. Akitsu has the oldest sake-brewing history in Hiroshima, stretching back 400 years. Akitsu, which faces the Inland Sea and has a population of about 13,000 people, once had 17 sake breweries, but now there are only three. Hiroshima, however, is still one of the most significant sake-brewing regions in Japan, and is consistently among the top six prefectures nationwide in terms of annual sake production. Historically, the prefecture has always won many awards for its sake, and on occasion has even swept the top three awards in the country. The sake we brew here at Imada Shuzo, called Fukucho, is very representative of this great Hiroshima style.

Ms. Miho Imada, above is one of only 20 woman brewers in Japan, she began her career in the brewery more than 15 years ago and became a toji (master) brewer five years ago. She is now working intensely hard to do what few women have ever had a chance to do — take over a sake brewery. We will welcome Miho san and Ms. Kaoru Ishiguro from Sake Export Association for that special night.

The three sakes that have been carefully selected (including one yet-to-be introduced to the New York market) are:

“Fukucho Tasting Set”
$13.00 (3 kinds/50 ml each)
Fukucho Suigetsu “Moon on the Water” Junmai Ginjo
Fukucho Biho Junmai Ginjo Nama (unpasteurized)
Miho san’s Selected Special Sake

Also, Fukucho Brewery’s original gift is being planned for guests who order “Fukucho Tasting Set”!

211 East 43rd Street B1F
New York, NY 10017
(Between 2nd and 3rd Avenue)

Business Hours:
Lunch:  Mon-Fri      11:30 am  – 14:20 pm

Dinner:  Mon-Thu    18:00 pm –  23:45 pm
              Fri-Sat        18:00 pm  – 24:45 am
              Sun             18:00 pm  – 22:45 pm

NYC: Spring Akita Charity Sake Tasting event

Reservation/Contact: Masatoshi Yamamoto
e-mail: [email protected]
Sun Pop International Corporation
211 East 43rd Street, Suite 1702,
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-682-4393
Fax: 212-682-4392

NYC: Ohanami Tasting at Sakagura

SAKAGURA presents
The Annual “OHANAMI” Sake Tasting Party 2011

211 East 43rd Street B1F
New York, NY 10017
(Between 2nd and 3rd Avenue)

Business Hours:
Lunch:  Mon-Fri      11:30 am  – 14:20 pm

Dinner:  Mon-Thu    18:00 pm –  23:45 pm
              Fri-Sat        18:00 pm  – 24:45 am
              Sun             18:00 pm  – 22:45 pm

NYC: Japan Society Annual Sake Tasting

Japan SocietyJapan Society Annual Sake Tasting & Lecture

Back to Basics!
Premium sake has certainly established its place in New York and other international metropolitan areas. More and more Americans now understand its flavor, depth and taste. Over the past 13 years, sake expert John Gauntner has educated a great number of New Yorkers on sake, from the importance of water and rice to the bacteria that play a crucial part in sake-making. This year, Gautner talks about the most basic points of sake: “Hot or cold?”; the different types of sake; and how most to enjoy them.

Followed by a sake tasting.

BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE or please call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. – Fri. 11 am – 6 pm, Weekends 11 am – 5 pm.

$35/$30 Japan Society members & seniors

Must be 21 years of age.

The Japan Society
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212.832.1155
Box Office: 212.715.1258

NYC: New York Loves Japan Sake Fundraiser!

sakaya.gifNew York Loves Japan

Project by Project NY has teamed up with a generous group of NY Food and Sake community members to present New York Loves Japan – a food and sake tasting benefit to support the relief efforts in Japan. All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Japan Red Cross. The Sake and Restaurant Tasting in support of the victims of the Japan tsunami and earthquake will take place at La.Venue on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011.


VIP Tickets: $175
Early Event Admission Starting at 6PM
* Private VIP Daiginjo Sake Lounge Starting at 6PM
* Sake Cup Gift Bag
* Plus General Admission Ticket Privileges

General Admission: $100
At-the-door General Admission: $125
Event General Admission Starting at 7PM
* Try Over 100 Different Sakes
* Delicious Food from over 15 Restaurants
* Silent Auction

Event Location:
269 11th avenue
Between 27th and 28th street
NYC, NY 10001
Tel: 212.967.9636

NYC: Chokaisan Sake Tasting at Sakaya

sakaya.gifChokaisan Junmai Ginjo Nigori Namazake Tasting

Event Description: Chokaisan Junmai Ginjo Nigori Namazake Tasting

324 E. 9th Street (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave.)
NYC 10003
212.505.7253 (SAKE)

Toronto: Vintages Sake 101 Event

Event organizer’s Description:
Taste 55 Sakes from 8 premium producers at Vintages’ first-ever Sake event.

Venture into the exciting world of premium Sake with two of the world’s leading experts: John Gauntner and Haruo Matsuzaki.

Explore the principal Sake styles as well as specialty varieties including sparkling, unfiltered and plum.

Featuring 8 premium producers, with principals from each brewery attending and ready to answer your questions.

Murai/ Momokawa

Taste a broad range of sake styles and enjoy them with authentic Japanese cuisine from four participating restaurants.

GINKO JAPANESE RESTAURANT – Gindara saikyo yaki (Grilled black cod marinade with saikyo miso)
ZEN JAPANESE RESTAURANT – Tekka maki (tuna roll sushi with homemade soy sauce)
MIKADO JAPANESE RESTAURANT – Homemade smoked salmon (Atlantic salmon smoked with special wood from Japan)
FaMu NATURAL MEATS – Buta no Kakuni (Ontario black pork cooked with soy sauce, mirin, ginger), Buta no smoked hams (Ontario smoked black pork sirloin)

There will also be catered Japanese food to complement the above, including vegetarian options.

Learn about Sake and how it is made during the structured tasting.

SAKE 101—Structured & Walk-around Tasting
Monday, May 16, 2011
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
6 Garamond Court, Toronto
Structured Tasting: 6:30pm
Walk-around Tasting: 7:45pm-9:30pm
$125 per person

To order tickets, kindly contact VINTAGES at 416-365-5767 or 1-800-266-4764 (Monday–Saturday 9am to 6pm, excluding holidays).

In order to optimize the tasting experience for all participants, please refrain from wearing any cologne or perfume. Events are restricted to guests 19 years or older. All ticket sales are final. Wines poured at this event will be measured and some wines may run out. Please do not drink and drive.