NYC: Autumn Akita Sake Tasting Event

“The Thirteenth Autumn Akita Sake Tasting Event”
Fundraising Event for Tohoku, Japan Relief Fund

ASC was established in June 2006 to introduce the sake, food and culture from Akita Prefecture to the NYC area. This autumn, ASC is proud to announce “The Akita Sake Tasting Event” on November 16, 2011.
Come join over 30 visiting Sake brewers from Akita and different all over Japan to taste over 45 of the finest sakes we have chosen for you to try. In addition, we have added many Sake’s from the Tohoku Region to supplement the current variety as well.

Savour some of Akita’s delicacies such as Kiritanpo, mashed rice stick, broiled and boiled in soup, Akita Miso- Flavor Honey Chicken, Miso Tofu, Iburi Gakko (Smoked radish pickles) and many others.
Enjoy performances by guest musicians Mr. Gaku Takanashi, who will be performing on the Shamisen and the Piano.
Be green and please bring your sake glass.

Sake Sommelier Ms. Chizuko Niikawa will also be present with any questions regarding our sake tastings.
You can exchange your donation for Special goods from Brewers etc.
The donations shall be sent to Tohoku, Japan through NY Japanese-American Lions Club.
Organizer: The Akita Sake Club (Akita Yukari no Kai)
Sponsor: Sun Pop International Corporation, Nishimoto Trading Co., Ltd.

Date: November 16, 2011 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: The Japanese American Association of New York, Inc.
Address: 15 West 44th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10036
Admission Fee: $60 ($10 is donated to Tohoku Relief Fund)
Please pay the admission by Cash at the reception desk on November 16, 2011.
Space is limited and reservation is required by November 11, 2011.
Reservation/Contact: Masatoshi Yamamoto
Sun Pop International Corporation
Tel: 212-682-4393 e-mail: [email protected]
Akita Sake Club Website:

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

Honolulu: Autumn Hiyaoroshi at The Sake Shop

Our order of Autumn seasonal sake has arrived, which means it’s time for a sake tasting. This Saturday we’ll be sampling FIVE different Hiyaoroshi sake that are only produced during this time of the year.

We’ve brought in our three favorite Hiyaoroshi sake from last year along with two new ones from Ohyama and Kikusui. These sake are limited in production so once we sell out they are gone until next Fall.

Hiyaoroshi sake is pasteurized only once instead of twice like regular sake. The result is a special flavor perfect for Autumn.

Here is the lineup for this Saturday (10/29).

We’ll be sampling Ohyama Hiyaoroshi for the first time with everyone this Saturday. Not sure what to expect from this Yamagata sake, but based on Ohyama’s other sake we’ve tried it should be something really good!

New to the shop this year, Kikusui Hiyaoroshi Junmai Ginjo from Niigata. We’ll also be sampling it for the first time with everyone this Saturday. I’ve read that it has a lot of umami with a semi-dry finish. Anything that comes in a cool looking blue bottle has got to be good.

Rich and smooth type sake from Tokyo prefecture. Tranquil aroma of brown sugar, caramel and dry grain. Mild and matured complex flavor with viscous texture.

Very smooth alluring medium dry sake with refreshing fruity aroma of muscat. Nicely balanced, expansive savory flavors. Light, smooth and rich type sake from Shizuoka prefecture.

Light and smooth type sake from Miyagi prefecture. Savory aroma of rice harmonized with fruity aroma. Nicely balanced mild flavor with soft texture.

So please stop by the shop this Saturday to sample some seasonal Hiyaoroshi sake. Although the leaves don’t really change colors here in Hawaii, we’re sure these special seasonal sake will help everyone get into the mood of Autumn.

Malcolm & Nadine Leong
The Sake Shop

Saturday, October 29, 2011
4:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Malcolm & Nadine Leong
The Sake Shop

The Sake Shop
1461 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone: (808) 947-7253
Fax: (808) 947-7254
Email: [email protected]

Monday – Saturday 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

NYC: Dassai Sparkling Sake Tasting at SAKAYA


Dassai Sparkling Sake Tasting
WhenFri, December 30, 6pm – 8pm

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

NYC: Kikusui sake tasting at SAKAYA


Kikusui sake tasting
Fri, December 16, 6pm – 8pm

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

NYC: SAKAYA Anniversary Daiginjo Tasting


SAKAYA Anniversary Daiginjo Tasting
Sat, December 10, 5pm – 7pm

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

NYC: SAKAYA Anniversary Daiginjo Tasting


SAKAYA Anniversary Daiginjo Tasting
Fri, December 9, 6pm – 8pm

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

NYC: Choryo Sake Tasting at SAKAYA


Choryo Shuzo Sake Tasting
Sat, December 3, 5pm – 7pm

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

NYC: Tamagawa Sake Tasting at SAKAYA


Tamagawa Junmai Tasting
Fri, November 18, 6pm – 8pm

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

NYC: Chiyomusubi Sake Tasting at SAKAYA


Chiyomusubi Sake Tasting
Sat, November 12, 5pm – 7pm

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

NYC: Hiyaoroshi Sake Tasting at SAKAYA


Hiyaoroshi Tasting

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

NYC: Hiyaoroshi Sake Tasting at SAKAYA


Hiyaoroshi Sake Tasting
Sat, October 29, 5pm – 7pm

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

Sake Volunteer Project 2011: Suisen Brewery

Suisen President Mr. Konno in his temporary brewing facitilty in Ichinoseki, Iwate.

Our next stop with the volunteer group was to visit Suisen Brewery in Iwate Prefecture. Suisen, located in the coastal town of Rikusentakata was one of the sake breweries that was completely destroyed by the tsunami on March 11th, and it’s owner Mr. Yasuhiko Konno escaped the waves with just minutes to spare. A respected pillar of the local community, Mr. Konno was featured in several magazine and newspaper articles soon after the tsunami such as this one, where he pledged his desire to rebuild. I remember seeing these reports and feeling inspired by his spirit. I’m sure a lot of people everywhere feel the same.

On our first day of visiting Suisen brewery, we met with company President Mr. Konno in their new facility in Ichinoseki, Iwate. As outlined in this news report, a deal was worked out with another Iwate sake brewery, Iwate Meijo Corp., for Suisen to use one of their facilities for as long as needed until they get get rebuilt and back on their feet in Rikusentakata. Suisen was not yet shipping sake out of this new facility, but settling in and getting used to the new brewing set up in Ichinoseki.

My picture with Mr. Konno

I have to say, Mr. Konno impressed us all with his personable nature, courage and determination to carry on. Joining us on this trip, we also met Marketing professional and famous author Masanori Kanda. Mr. Kanda held a marketing brainstorming session with our group to come up with ideas to help Suisen in the future. It was a productive session using Mr. Kanda’s unique and fun association methods. Also, the Deputy Mayor of Rikuzentakata City, Takashi Kubota joined us as well.

The devastated site of Suisen Brewery in Rikusentakata, Iwate. Mr. Konno plans to rebuild and is dedicated to staying in Rikusentakata.

On day two at Suisen, we chartered a bus to tour the town of Rikuzentakata with Mr. Konno personally guiding us. Mr. Konno recounted the stories of survival as we drove around what remained of Rikuzentakata. Even 6 months on, the utter devastation of this area was overwhelming. Crews of workers dotted the town rehanging electrical cables or manning bulldozers that were still trying to clear land or move mountains of debris. Mr. Konno also drove us to the the site where his brewery once stood. It had been cleared of all debris and looked like a vast empty field except for the far end, that was being used by the city as a temporary staging area for the towering piles of crushed cars collected from the town. Not a stick of the brewery remained – and the same is true for Mr. Konno’s house, which stood just steps from the brewery complex. To see it first hand had an emotional impact on me and certainly made me more determined to help in whatever way I can.

When it was time to say goodbye, Mr. Konno thanked us for our support, but I felt it was really us with so much to be thankful for. As we pulled away in a steady rain, I watched Mr. Konno wave goodbye from under his umbrella. He continued waving for several minutes without pause, as did we from the bus, until he slipped out of sight.

There is no telling what the future will bring for Suisen or Rikuzentakata, but if Mr. Konno’s spirit is any indication, I plan on coming back to tour their rebuilt brewery in a few years.

NYC: Niigata Sake Night at Sakagura

Sakagura and Niigata Sake Selections Present
Three Niigata Sake Tasting Night
Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Sakagura is very excited to invite you to “Niigata Sake Tasting Night” ! We will be joined by 3 Sake Brewers from the Niigata region, known for its wonderful water and locally grown sake rice. Please join us for an unforgettable chance to meet 3 producers and taste 6 different sakes (includes not-yet-to be sold in the U.S. Market) from their breweries!

Sake Tasting Fee:
$25.00 (all inclusive)

Participating Brewers:
Kirinzan Shuzo – Mr. Norikazu Urushihara
-Kirinzan Junmai
-Kirinzan Junmai Daiginjo

Kinshihai Shuzo – Ms. Takako Shigeno, Manager, owner family member
-Yukikage Tokubetsu Junmai
-Echigo Toji Daiginjo Gold Medal

Musashino Shuzo- Mr. Hajime Kobayashi, President, Owner
-Nyukon Tokubetsu Honjozo
-Ten to Chi Junmai Daiginjo

Also, Kuramoto original gifts are being planned for guests!

Please note that this tasting event is stand-up style. No tables, chairs and foods. If you wish to dine while the tasting, please reserve the table when you call us! (Attending tasting only is welcomed! Dining is not required for this event)

Prompt RSVPs are recommended for an evening not to be missed. RSVP Hotlines : 212-953-SAKE (7253)

NEW YORK, NY 10017
(bet 2nd and 3rd Avenue)
212-953-SAKE (7253)

NYC: Kakurei Night at Sakagura

Aoki Brewery and Sakagura present
Kakurei Night
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

We are very proud of announcing autumn exclusive sake event!

With its 300-year history since the foundation in 1717, AOKI SHUZO brews about 2,000 gokus or 360kL of finest sake every winter in Minami Uonuma in Niigata Prefecture, which area is well known for the heaviest snow in Japan, some of the best ski yards and onsens of the country, and the highest quality of rice called “Minami-uonuma san Koshi Hikari”. Twelve-generation owner/president, Takafumi Aoki aims for tanrei-umakuchi, or light & tasty sake, with his production team led by the award-winning Master Brewer,
Mr. Hidehiro Shinbo. Mr. Aoki is coming to NYC to pour its “KAKU-REI” sakes to you on Thursday night.

The three sakes that have been carefully selected for that night are:
“Kakurei Tasting Set” $18.00 3kinds/50ml each
-Kakurei Daiginjo
-Kakurei Junmai Ginjo Cho-Tanrei
-Kakurei Umeshu Junmai Ginjo Plum Sake

And we will serve a glass and carafe of each sake :
Kakurei Daiginjo : Carafe (180ml) $25 Glass (100ml) $14
Kakurei Junmai Ginjo : Carafe $18 Glass $10
Kakurei Umeshu : Carafe $19 Glass $11

Also, Kakurei original gifts are being planned for the first 30 guests who order “Kakurei Tasting Set”!

Prompt RSVPs are recommended for an evening not to be missed.
RSVP Hotlines : 212-953-SAKE (7253)
*RSVP will be taken on a first-come first-serve basis. We cannot hold orders in advance.

NEW YORK, NY 10017
(bet 2nd and 3rd Avenue)
212-953-SAKE (7253)

Interview: Kazuhiro Sakurai, Dassai Sake Brewery

I had the pleasure of visiting the Dassai Brewery in January and February of this year for an extended stay. I learned a ton about sake brewing and life in Japan. The Brewery’s Vice President, Kazuhiro Sakurai, was kind enough to sit down with me and talk about Dassai and all things sake.

Kazuhiro Sakurai

Timothy Sullivan: Tell me a bit about your brewery… how many workers do you have and what’s your production output?

Kauzhiro Sakurai:

We have 42 workers total. Last year we produced 4,300 koku. But this year we’re expanding. This year, I think we will make 5,500 Koku.

Timothy Sullivan: How would you describe the style of your sake?

Kazuhiro Sakurai: It’s smooth and clear and but with a very long finish …and very approachable. Most sake out there is difficult to understand, but our character is easy to understand. Not too difficult, but it has elegance and a deep beauty.

Timothy Sullivan: Your Brewery made the decision to produce only Junmai Daiginjo grade sake. Why did your brewery make that decision?

Kauzhiro Sakurai: It’s really quite simple. We want customers who who drink our sake to feel deliciousness and happiness. We found that we were selling 100% of our Junmai Daiginjo style, so it was natural for us to make more of this style. Over time, we realized, selling Junmai Daiginjo was the best style for us. At first, of course we sold a Junmai and a Junmai Ginjo, too, but we noticed customers just wanted to drink the most delicious sake from each brewery, so we focused on that market. For us it was an evolution of what our customers wanted.

Timothy Sullivan: Your brewery was the first to use a high tech centrifuge to separate the lees from the sake. I saw the machine here and it looks very high tech and complex. What role does technology play in sake making? and what role does tradition play?

Kazuhiro Sakurai: For us, it’s just one kind of tool. For example, a good restaurant chef doesn’t use just their hands – they use a food processor or other tools. For me, both technology and tradition are very important. Our goal is simply to make the most delicious sake, so we pay attention to both. Actually, a person’s hand is very sensitive, so for making Koji and making the moto, we need the human touch. But for example rice polishing and sake pressing, the technology is better than the human hand.

Kazuhiro Sakurai

Timothy Sullivan: Sometimes I get food pairing requests for sake. Do you have any food pairing recommendations for your sakes?

Kauzhiro Sakurai:

Honestly we think the best pairing is our local specialty, Fugu, or blowfish. The Sparkling Nigori is wonderful with Fugu Kara-age. And of course, I know that it’s very difficult to get fugu in the US, so I recommend that Dassai 23 and Dassai 39 is paired with white raw fish sashimi and roasted vegetables such as roasted asparagus. That is a very good match with my sake. As for Nigori and our sparkling Nigori, they are both good with oily foods such as fried calamari, fried oyster or pork belly. Our Dassai 50 is the most versatile and that goes well with a wide range of foods including Korean food – even the spicy kind.

Timothy Sullivan: What is your message to American consumers of your sake. What would you like them to know about your brewery and your brand.

Kazuhiro Sakurai: For us, the people who live in Yamaguchi, our local town, or who live in Tokyo, New York or France – for us we approach them as a customer in the same way. Our message is simple: “Enjoy our sake and make your life happy!” We want people to enjoy their happiest moments with our sake. That’s why we work hard to make the most delicious sake we can.

Timothy Sullivan: What do you think are the most important steps that should be taken to introduce sake to more people and grow the market?

Kauzhiro Sakurai: This is related to the previous question. People like very simple and very delicious sake – and that is what we are making and we have to work to introduce this to new people. We don’t think we have to brew sake for the American palate, sake for the Japanese palate or sake for the French palate. For us, it’s the same thing. I think beauty is a universal concept and beautiful sake can be recognized by any palate.

Timothy Sullivan: How do see the future of sake in the USA specifically?

Kazuhiro Sakurai: There is a very big opportunity. For those types of people who enjoy many types of food, I feel strongly that they would be open to trying and enjoying sake. I think people’s tastes are evolving – and as their tastes get more broad, there is more room for sake to be successful. I think that trend is happening now in the United States. I think the future is very good for Sake in the U.S.


My Special thanks to Sakurai-san for talking with me about sake! I learned so much at this brewery! Stay tuned for many more posts on Dassai sake!!

Sake Volunteer Project 2011: Niizawa Brewery

I recently returned from a two week volunteer project to the Tohoku region of Japan. The Sake Volunteer Project was organized by the UK groups the Japan Affairs Forum and Action for Japan UK. The aim of the project was to visit and support breweries that sustained damage or destruction in the March 11th, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. In all 5 Breweries were visited and volunteers did a range of activities to support the breweries.

Niizawa Brewery

The majority of the volunteers were around 20 years old and came from all parts of the world: England, Japan, China, Singapore, Italy and the U.S. – with most studying at University in the United Kingdom. Only two volunteers, myself included, were from the United States.

It was inspiring for me, the oldest in the group, to see so many young people interested in giving up a portion of their holiday to help the sake industry recover from disaster.

The Sake Volunteers

Our first stop was for five days at the 148 year old Niizawa Brewery in Osaki Miyagi. They are the makers of two famous brands, Hakurakusei and Atagonomatsu. The Brewery President, Mr. Niizawa explained to us that, while still standing, the foundations of his family’s brewery building were permanently damaged beyond repair.

They were still brewing small amounts of sake there, but the plan was to move to a new facility about an hour away up in the mountains by November. The 18 volunteers were split into groups and each pitched in with hands-on work in a certain stage of the sake brewing process. From rice steaming, to stirring the main mash, to making koji, to pressing, to bottling, to labeling – everyone got a chance to experience what goes into making sake. On the last day of our visit, Mr. Niizawa took us to see his new facility in the mountains and out for a wonderful Izakaya dinner in Furukawa.

Sincere thanks to Mr. Niizawa for welcoming us so warmly!

I knew deep down that with our inexperience and occasional language issues, we probably slowed down the work at the brewery more than increased efficiency, but I could feel that Mr. Niizawa understood our intent in wanting to be there and help in any way we could. His generosity of time and resources, especially during such a challenging period of recovery for his company, has left a lasting impression on me and has made me more resolved than ever to help the brewers of Tohoku in any way I can.

Below is a gallery of our time at Niizawa Brewery. My Sincere thanks go out to Mr. Niizawa and all the staff at Niizawa Brewery who welcomed us all so fully.

NYC: Sip + Bite + Slurp Event

Event Organizer’s Description:

WHAT: A night celebrating Japanese sake, shochu, craft beers and specialty regional dishes.

WHEN: Friday, October 7th, 7:00pm to 9:00pm, VIP – Early Access from 6:00pm.

WHERE: Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W. 18th St, 2nd Floor – Metropolitan Suite

WHO: 30 Japanese Sake, Shochu and Craft Beer Brewers. 8 hidden gem Japanese eateries serving regional specialties.

WHY: To drink, to eat, perchance to achieve satori.

HOW MUCH: $88, VIP – early access; $50, general admission

Get tickets here:

If you’ve lived long enough, you’ll remember that thirty years ago, eating raw fish in a Japanese restaurant sounded bizarre and even a bit disgusting to most Americans. Nowadays, famous actors consume so much sushi that they give themselves mercury poisoning.

In the early part of this millennium, thanks in large part to a certain renegade East Village-based Korean American genius, ramen has supplanted sushi as the Japanese food of the moment. But it doesn’t stop there. New York’s Japanese food scene has become so sophisticated that it’s possible to consume various regional specialties just in the area south of 14th Street.

As American diners’ knowledge of Japanese cuisine increases, we have also begun to understand the brewing methods and the flavors of fine artisanal sake (more often called nihonshu or literally “Japanese wine” by the Japanese themselves.)

LUCKYRICE, in conjunction with the Japanese Culinary Center, presents

SIP + BITE + SLURP, an exploration of sake as interpreted by artisanal brewers from various regions of Japan. The brewers themselves will be in town and will be getting together for one night only to pour their sake and talk about the various areas of Japan from which they hail.

We’ve also lined up eight restaurants representing four major regions of Japan. As you walk the floor, you will be able to taste both the sakes and dishes from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south and the major urban centers of Kanto (Tokyo area) and Kinki (Osaka area) in between.

Brooklyn’s Hibino will present that most elegant of Japanese foods kaiseki-ryori which originated in Kyoto, the ancient seat of imperial power. Hakata Tonton, which has transported the pork specialties from the southern Japanese island of Kyushu to the West Village will be providing bites. Kasadela – based in Alphabet City – will show you what a sticky, sweet and spicy Nagoya-style tebasaki (chicken wing) tastes like. Otafuku located on 9th Street, will be cooking their take on okonomiyaki which translates to “as you like it” meaning that you can have that Japanese pancake your way. Kyoya, usually tucked away in the East Village, will come out to play and represent Hokkaido as will 47th Street’s sleek sushi bar Tsushima.

We’ll also have the Kambi Ramen House located in the East Village- that’s where the SLURP comes in. In Japan, noisily slurping your ramen not only cools the noodles as they enter your mouth but also shows how much you’re enjoying them.

Join us and get ready to say as the Japanese do before one eats a meal itadakimasu which means “I shall now humbly receive.”

Get tickets here:

NYC: 1 or 8 Tengumai & Nanbu Bijin Pairing Dinner

Nanbu Bijin and Tengumai Pairing Dinner at 1 or 8 Restaurant

Event organizer’s Description:
We are going to have a sake pairing dinner option on Sunday October 9th.
We will have the pleasure of having the presence of the representatives
from two sake breweries, Mr. Shinobu Takebayashi from Nanbu Bijin and
Mr. Naoki Yokoyama from Tengumai, along with Chizuko Niikawa of Sake
Discovery, the promoter of these sake.

* This pairing dinner is going to be available only with a reservation
(please specify “pairing dinner”) along with a pre-payment information.
* The dinner including the sake is $90 per person (tax and gratuity not
* Please make your reservation by Wednesday October 5th.
* There is no specific time for this pairing dinner. We will serve each
tables at their reserved time (Sundays, we open at 6pm and the kitchen
closes at 11pm).
* In case of cancellation, we are not able to give any refund for the
reservation of this particular dinner. However, if something comes up
and you cannot come in, you could always have a friend coming in instead
– the seats are exchangeable!

Here is the current plan of the menu.

* Amuse Bouche
– pairing with Nanbu Bijin – Plum Sake

* 1st course
Katsuo Tataki Salad: Seared bonito, kaiware, red onion, celery
served with yogurt miso dressing
– pairing with Tengumai – Yamahai Junmai (chilled)

* 2nd course
Dashi Maki Tamago: Cooked egg with seasonal mushroom& bonito broth
– pairing with Nanbu Bijin – Tokubetsu Junmai

* 3rd course
Grilled Eel (Shira Yaki): served with tomato / miso sauce
– pairing with Nanbu Bijin – Daiginjo

* 4th course
Nigiri sushi (3pcs): assorted seasonal fish
– pairing with Tengumai – Daiginjo

* Entree
Duck Soba Noodle: Roasted duck, sauteed foie gras, buckwheat noodle,
served with bonito broth
– pairing with Tengumai – Yamahai Junmai (warmed)

* Dessert
Zenzai: Sake ice cream with red bean soup

If interested in this pairing dinner, call the restaurant
for a reservation.
Have a great weekend, and hope to see you soon!

1 OR 8
66 South 2nd street
bet Wythe and Kent