Entries by Timothy Sullivan

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Sake In The News: 03-02-18

New York has its first sake brewery and it is fantastic. The Taproom at Brooklyn Kura opens today and serves the freshest sake you can get this side of the Pacific: Just pressed sake on draft, lightly filtered Orizake as well as raw sake mash from the Tank. All of it delicious. Born in Japan, […]

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Sake In The News: 02-21-18

Nice article from a major media outlet about the growth of sake in the export market. As Japan falls out of love with sake, brewers look to the West by DANIEL HURST, NBCnews.com February 21, 2018 KYOTO, Japan — Sake runs in Tokubee Masuda’s blood. He’s the 14th generation of his family to operate one […]

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Sake In The News: 02-20-18

Sake seems to be hitting its stride. Sake Exports increased 19% in 2017 and has tripled in volume over the last 16 years. Awesome news that speaks to the growing interest in and knowledge about sake with consumers outside of Japan! Sake exports reach record high again by The Yomiuri Shimbun February 20, 2018 Japan’s […]

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Sake In The News: 02-14-18

Is Sake too cheap in Japan? I often hear that prices for premium sake in the USA are too high. But I always enjoy the very low premium sake prices whenever I visit Japan. This article raises many interesting questions! Is Japanese sake too cheap? Many in the industry think so by HISAO KODACHI, Nikkei […]

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Sake In The News: 01-30-18

I’m quoted in this article about the sake industry’s move to expand its market overseas. The Export market for Japanese brewers is an area of growth and I think they will continue to put lots of effort into growing demand for sake outside Japan. Learning To Love Sake: Japan Ramps Up Efforts To Entice Foreign […]

Stunning Sake Production Video from Matsumoto Brewery

Mastumoto Brewery is a well known Kura in Fushimi, Kyoto. Recently, they’ve produced a video that shows the beauty of the sake production process unlike anything I’ve seen before. Looks like the filmmakers also used a drone to get aerial shots of the brewery. However they did it, it’s stunning and worth a look for […]

Sake Dispatch from 1907 – “Potent Liquor is Sake”

I recently came across this century old description of Japanese sake and was thrilled to learn about it’s author, Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), a greek born writer who became one of the first western writers to document Japan. He had a Japanese wife and lived in Japan from 1890 until his death in 1904. The article […]

New Cup on the Block: Azasu!

Longtime readers of Urban Sake will know that I am a devoted fan of Cup Sake! So much so, I organized a cup sake week back in 2009! Cup sake week never took off, but I still love my single serving cup sake every chance I get. My hopes for a cup sake renaissance got […]

4th World Sake Sommelier Competition

Calling all Sake Sommeliers! SSI and Sake School of America are hosting the 4th World Sake Sommelier Competition! Are you a sake professional and want to get in on the action? Email by May 20th to apply your spot for regional competitions in LA, Chicago or NYC. Details below! Sake Service Institute International presents 4th […]

Sake Tourism to Japan: Sake Journeys!

Have you ever dreamed of traveling to Japan’s best Sake regions, meeting the sake brewers and drinking the very best sake on the planet? Now you can! I hope you’ll consider joining me on our next Sake Journey to Japan from March 12-19! The best way to learn about our tour is to visit the […]

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2013 Golden Masu Awards

Another year has come and gone. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the sakes of 2013… Year after year, I produce this semi-serious “Golden Masu Award” roundup, which is my totally biased take on the superior sakes, bodacious brews and nihonshu of note of the past year. The biggest change for me was that […]

Sake and Nobu at De Gustibus Cooking School

Recently, I had the good fortune to get invited to introduce some sakes at a cooking class – but this wasn’t just any cooking class, this was a cooking seminar from the chefs of Nobu New York, Nobu Next Door and Nobu 57 at the renowned De Gustibus Cooking School inside Macy’s. I was presenting […]

Joy of Sake Friends & Family Discount

We’re all sake friends here, right? Well, lucky us because I have a discount code for friends and family of Urban Sake to get $15 off the cost of admission to the Joy of Sake! When you are buying your tickets use code “FAFNY”. Act fast this offer expires Sunday Sept 8th!! Friends & Family […]

Urban Sake Upgrade 2013!

Back in 2006, just one year after starting my website, I was proud as a new papa of my fledgling Urban Sake website redesign. I was crowing about my new Sake Directory filled with a whopping 20 sakes! Well, as they say… times have changed! I’ve known deep down it was time for a facelift, […]

New Film: The Birth of Sake

I’ve visited many sake breweries over the years and always have my camera or video camera in tow. I am always sure I’ll capture the perfect video to help convey the magic of sake making on film. Well – it doesn’t quite work out that way. Reviewing my raw footage, I am usually foiled by […]

The 10 Commandments of Sake

Well, good heavens! I’ve been teaching about sake since 2007 and believe me, I get it – sake can be confusing and even downright intimidating for those just getting started. I always thought it would be a good idea to pull together a cheat sheet of core concepts to help everyone understand more about sake […]

Daishichi Baccarat Sake Night at Hakubai

Daishichi is a sake brand that is famous for two things – its exclusive use of the Kimoto brewing method, and it’s extreme elegance. That elegance was on full display at a recent sake dinner featuring Baccarat Crystal at the Hakubai Restaurant in the Kitano Hotel. This was another amazing night at Hakubai. When I […]

Urban Sake on NBC

The upcoming “Sake and the City” event on February 12th in NYC is going to be an amazing evening of enjoying Nihonshu. As part of the promotion for this event, I was invited to appear on NBC as part of their live (LIVE!!) 7pm local NYC newscast to talk about sake and the event. Luckily, […]

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2012 Golden Masu Awards

2012 zipped by in a flash. Where has the time gone!? I can only stare into the bottom of my empty sake cup and wonder. For me, this year was a whirlwind of great sakes, old and new. It’s also been a year of learning and teaching. I’m discovering that sharing my love and passion […]

Exploring Sake in Glorious Gifu

I recently visited Gifu Prefecture for the first time. I was lucky enough to be invited to tag along on Sake Discoveries’ tour of Gifu guided by JETRO this past October. Over just a few days, we crisscrossed the Prefecture, visiting many sake breweries and experiencing some truly unique parts of Gifu’s culture. It was […]

Visiting Tomita Shuzo – Shiga’s Shichihonyari

I first saw Tomita Shuzo in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture on a visit I took there in 2008. It’s interesting to note that it seems both a lot and nothing has changed. The brewery is still making small batches by hand with a small staff and achieving amazing results. But on the other hand, you can […]

Visiting Shata Shuzo – Ishikawa’s Tengumai

One of the most well known sakes in Ishikawa Prefecture is Shata Shuzo’s Tengumai. I recently had the opportunity for return trip to Ishikawa and didn’t want to miss another chance to see the latest goings on at Tengumai. We were lucky enough to get a tour of the brewery by the Master Brewer (Toji) […]

Visiting Miyasaka Brewery – Nagano’s Masumi

Miyasaka Shuzo’s Masumi is a well known and well loved brand of sake in the U.S. and one that was among the very first sakes I ever tried. It was therefore a long, long overdue visit, when the stars aligned and I got a chance to visit Nagano Prefecture for the first time and see […]

Sake Discoveries & Kaburaki Kutani Ware at BoConcept

Last night was a night of beautiful sake and Kutani Porcelain at the elegant BoConcept store in Chelsea. Organized by our friend Chizuko of Sake Discoveries, the event featured a range of top end sakes and a display of gorgeous porcelain made by Kaburaiki Kutani Ware and on hand as a special guest was kinomo-clad […]

Akita Fall Sake Tasting 2012

The genius behind the Akita Sake Club’s bi-annual tasting event is that, contrary to the name, they don’t limit their sakes to Akita sakes only. About half are from Akita, but it’s a wonderful chance to taste sakes from all over Japan with an emphasis on Akita. This event was also the debut of some […]

Fukuju Night at Sakagura

Last night, I enjoyed another fun night of sake at Sakagura. Fukuju brand, made by Hoygo’s Kobe Shushinkan Brewery was celebrated and they offered a tasting set for all the guests. Visiting directly from the brewery was Mr. Kubota. Each guest who ordered the tasting set received a cute ochoko (sake cup) with the Fukuju […]

Hiyaoroshi Hijinks: Nov. 2012 Urban Sake Tasting Club!

Last night was the second Urban Sake Tasting Club Event! We held our event at Sakagura and focused this time on Hiyaoroshi Sakes, which are also known as “Fall Namas”. We started the meeting with a fun “kagami biraki” which is a ceremonial breaking open of the sake barrel. We had a handy tabletop version […]

Fukuju Sake Tasting at Sakaya

Hyogo’s own Kobe Shushinkan Brewery recently made their debut of their “Fukuju” brand at New York’s most famous sake store Sakaya. Mr. Kubota came directly from the Brewery to introduce his sakes here in New York. On this night, he was pouring Fukuju Mikageko Junmai and Fukuju Junmai Ginjo. Fukuju Mikageko Junmai is an elegant […]

Kyoto Brewery Visit: Kinoshita Shuzo – Tamagawa

Earlier this year, Mr. Philip Harper, master sake brewer at Kyoto’s Kinoshita Sake Brewery came to NYC to promote his outstanding Tamagawa brand of sake. I used the opportunity to snag not only an interview with Philip, but also finagled an opportunity to visit his brewery in Kyoto. When I was planning my trip to […]

Kyoto Brewery Visit: Masuda Tokubee Shoten: Tsukinokastura

Masuda Tokubee Shoten, makers of Tsukinokatsura brand sake are famous in Japan and throughout the world. They sell their sakes from Kyoto to New York, Paris, Berlin and beyond. I received an invitation to visit the brewery and got to see what makes Tsukinokatsura special. This brewery was founded in 1675! Tsukinokatsura makes several wonderful […]

Sake Samurai Ceremony 2012

This month, I had the wonderful the opportunity to travel to Kyoto, Japan to celebrate with three friends who were each awarded the title of Sake Samurai 2012! I had the good fortune to be awarded Sake Samurai in 2007, and I’m over the moon to relive these good memories with good friends! First up […]

Our First Urban Sake Tasting Club!

One of my big sake goals for this year was to start a tasting club in New York City. My idea was to create a monthly meeting where folks can come together and learn a little something about sake, taste something delicious and, of course, have some fun! Well, as of Oct 8th, we’re wheels […]

NY Mutual Trading Show 2012

Mutual Trading Company has a wonderful trade show each year showcasing their food and sake products. It’s not open to the general public, but for industry folks, it’s something to look forward to each year. Somehow, this year again, I managed to finagle my way in and enjoyed a lot of good sake. Check out […]

Sake Day Adventure at Sakagura

Santa Claus has Christmas, Leprechauns have St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve got Sake Day. Designated as the official start day each year to the fall sake brewing season, it’s also a darn good reason to get out there and taste some sake. Sakagura had an offer I couldn’t refuse. We’re talking about 7 Daiginjo sakes […]

JFC Sake Expo 2012

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 […]

Getting to Know Asabiraki at Sakagura

I didn’t know much about Asabiraki Sake Brewery in Iwate, but Sakagura gave me a chance to fix all that. They invited Brewery President Mr. Yoshitaka Murai to introduce his sakes at a special tasting event last week. First things first. As soon as I got there I sat down and ordered the tasting set […]

Sake Night at Family Recipe

It’s always fun to try a new restaurant, but it’s especially fun to try a new restaurant when they are having a big sake party! This was my recent experience with Family Recipe, a Japanese home style cooking place open since 2011 down on Eldridge Street. On August 29th, they held their first Family Recipe’s […]

Joy of Sake Kick Off Party at Blue Ribbon Izakaya

Sake Season is upon us! Things seemed to really get cooking with a recent event at Blue Ribbon izakaya. It was a lovely evening at the event was hosted out on the “kanpai garden” terrace – a really beautiful setting… with the backdrop of the setting sun! Chris Pearce got things rolling with an introduction […]

Tatenokawa Times Two!

Who doesn’t love a twofer?! You know, a good old fashioned two-for-one deal? I recently enjoyed two times the fun in one night exploring consecutive sake events both dedicated to Yamagata’s fantastic Tatenokawa Brewery. The evening started at a free tasting of Tatenokawa 33 Junmai Daiginjo at Sakaya. Doling out the goods was Brewery Rep […]

Holy Cow: Tedorigawa Sake at Takashi Yakiniku

As a frequent traveler to Japan, when it comes to “challenging” food items I’ve come across (think fish eye collagen, fermented squid intestine, slimy natto soybeans) I own up to my limits and know when to wave the white flag and admit defeat. Raised on the standard American diet, sometimes my palate just goes on […]

Ten-Qoo Tuna and Sawanotsuru at Inakaya

Thanks to my friend Chiz over at Sake Discoveries, I was recently able to get a front row seat to something unusual – a bluefin tuna butchering at Inakaya Restaurant. Now, I know the mere mention of bluefin tuna sets off all kinds of eco alarm bells for those of us rightly worried about overfishing […]

Ice, Ice Baby: Enjoying Shichihonyari On the Rocks

The good folks at Sakagura have put on another fun and exciting sake brewer event! This time it was Mr. Yasunobu Tomita, executive director of Tomita Shuzo from Shiga. I visited this brewery waaaay back in 2008. Tomita-san arrived with a trick up his sleeve… he brought with him a new kid on the block: […]

Tenryo Night at Sakagura

Last night was another fun sake tasting event at Sakagura! This time, we were enjoying the sakes from Tenryo Sake Brewery. On hand to introduce the sakes was Mr. Matasuke Uenoda, marketing director of Tenryo Brewery. Tenryo is in Gifu Prefecture – a place I’ve never been and honestly don’t know much about. Uenoda-san brought […]

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New Video Series: Sake Q&A Tuesday!

Do you have questions about Japanese Sake?! Well I’m serving up sake answers! Today we’re launching a new sake web video series called “Sake Q&A Tuesday!” You can send me your sake questions and each Tuesday I’ll answer one reader’s question in a web video. To submit your question, you can email me at Questions@UrbanSake.com […]

Tedorigawa Glitters at Sakagura

The event packed schedule at Sakagura rolls on! Last night’s event centered around a beautiful Tedorigawa sake tasting set featuring three standout Tedorigawa Sakes. Each set was presented by Yasuyuki Yoshida, the 6th Genergation Kuramoto from Ishikawa Prefecture’s Yoshida Sake Brewery, makers of Tedorigawa brand sake. Yoshida-san visited every table that ordered the tasting set […]

Kitaya Night at Sakagura

Fukuoka Prefecture may not be the most famous for sake, but it could be the most fun. Fukuoka’s own Kitaya Sake Brewery, recently had a tasting at sake mecca Sakagura Restaurant and proved they know how to have a good time. In addition to some fantastic Kitaya Sake, The company President Mr. Kinoshita was there […]

Dassai Lecture at The Brooklyn Kitchen

Last night I spoke at a fun and unique Dassai Sake Brewery Tasting. The event was held at The Brooklyn Kitchen and featured four kinds of Dassai Sake, food cooked to prefection with Dassai Sake Lees by Chef Mori of Kyoya and outrageously awesome artisanal meats and cheeses. I did a short lecture and slideshow […]

Tasting Tenryo at Sakaya

I found myself in the east Village this past weekend and made it in time to stop by Sakaya for a nice tasting! This day, Rick and Hiroko were featuring a sake from the Tenryo Sake Brewery in Gifu, Japan. Mr. Matasuke Uenoda, Marketing Director from the Brewery was there to pour and introduce their […]

Shichida Sake Night at Kirakuya

Sing it with me: “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and Shichida Sake are a few of my favorite things!” Well… that being the case, I would never miss a Shichida Sake Brewery tasting! Brewery President Shichida was in town and a festive night at Sake Bar Kirakuya was planned… It’s on! When I […]

Kagatobi Night at Shinbashi Restaurant

Another Night, Another Kagatobi! The good folks from Fukumitsuya Brewery have been in town and hosting events all over the city. Last Thursday was a special night with Kagatobi sake flowing freely, all poured by Mr. Yageta vising all the way from the brewery! They were offering a special price on the bottle of Kagatobi […]

Nishimoto Premium Sake Event 2012

Nishimoto Sake Importers hosted it’s annual big sake blowout on June 3rd at the Astor Center in NYC. The tasting this year was a big deal because the event marked the 100th anniversary of Nishimoto in the U.S. This Nishimoto event was open to businesses only, but I was able to get inside to take […]

Sake Tasting at the Brooklyn Kitchen

This past Saturday, the Brooklyn Kitchen hosted a sake tasting. The 3 hour tasting cost a mere $25 and was sincerely an amazing opportunity to meet some sake brewers live and in person and immerse yourself the intoxicating world of Nihonshu. So, as you can well imagine, this Manhattanite I got out his passport and […]

Kagatobi Night at Sakagura

I recently attended a fun evening at Sakagura Restaurant featuring Kagatobi sakes. Kagatobi is one of the flagship brands of the Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery. Visiting all the way from the Fukumitsuya Brewery were Mr. Fukumitsu and Mr. Yageta to introduce their sakes to Sakagura’s guests. This night there was a special sake tasting set featuring […]

Akita Sake Club Spring 2012 Tasting

Another spring, another Akita Sake Club tasting! And let me tell you, those Akita folks know how to enjoy their sake! This event is always a lot of fun and recently, has graciously included sake from other prefectures as well. All the Akita sakes where on one table and allowed you to taste your way […]

Tamagawa’s Philip Harper at Sakagura

In Japan, a master sake brewer is known as a Toji. They train for years and it’s their job to manage the day to day operations of sake production. And it’s not everyday that a Toji superstar blows into town, so I wasn’t about to miss my chance to talk sake with the Kyoto toji […]

Deeply Madly Truly Dassai… Yopparai Style

Sake Bar Yopparai kicked off May with a fun evening of yummy-sake-drinking and good-food-eating by partnering with Dassai Brewery for an event called “Deeply Dassai, Yopparai Style”. The event focused on a 5 course set menu, all paired with Dassai Sakes. Sounds good, but wait – there’s more… the little surprise is that many of […]

Lucky Rice Grand Feast 2012

There’s one event each year you can rely on to provide some exotic food and sake, a dash of glamour and some killer views of the Park. We’re talking about the Lucky Rice Grand Feast. Held annually and benefiting City Harvest, the Grand Feast is a celebration of good food, good drink and SAKE! Some […]

Tatenokawa Launch Party at Kirakuya

Tatenokawa Sake Brewery is one of those rare outfits that focuses exclusively on producing super-premium grade sake. That’s right, nothing but Junmai Daiginjo will do for the folks at this brewery. If you’re a fan of Junmai Daiginjo like I am, get to know the name Tatenokawa. Two of their sakes selected for import to […]

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Sake In the News

In Japan, sake has long been known as “The Drink of the Gods”…but coming soon, sake will also be designated as the “National Alcoholic Beverage” by the Japanese Government. My initial reaction to this news was, HUH? Sake isn’t already officially the “National Alcoholic Beverage”? But the more I thought about it, I realized that […]

Kibō Cookbook Event with Elizabeth Andoh

I was recently honored to help support an event called “Kibō: A Taste of the Tohoku” here in New York featuring well known Japanese cookbook author Elizabeth Andoh. Living full time in Japan since 1967, Andoh-sensei is famed for teaching the complexities of Japanese cooking to an English speaking audience through in person classes and […]

Get Yopparai at Yopparai

I recently discovered a new sake bar gem on the lower east side called Yopparai. In English, “yopparai” means ‘drunkard’, or ‘I’m drunk’. This hidden away sake sanctuary has a large selection of premium sakes by the carafe and an even larger selection of wonderful sakes by the bottle. When I spoke with owner Gaku […]

Masumi Night at Sakagura

April 4th was a special night at Sakagura Restaurant celebrating the annual Springtime U.S. launch of Masumi Masumi Arabashiri Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu sake from Miyasaka Shuzo. The tasting set on this night consisted of Miyasaka Yawaraka Junmai, Masumi Arabashiri Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu and Masumi Yumedono Daiginjo Genshu. Keith Norum and Katsu Miyasaka were […]

Masumi Hits the Big Apple!

There are a few signs of Spring that are unmistakeable… That first warm day when you step outside and smell that fresh clean air, the blossoming of the nearby trees and of course, the arrival of Masumi Arabashiri! Miyasaka Brewery just arrived in town and have kicked off a week of events all around New […]

NYC: A TASTE OF THE TOHOKU

A TASTE OF THE TOHOKU Monday, Apr 9 6:30p International Culinary Center, New York, NY Join Les Dames d’Eescoffier for a guided tasting of Japan’s Tōhoku region sampling regional foods and sake with an illustrated talk by Elizabeth Andoh. Elizabeth Andoh, a leading expert on Japanese culinary arts, was a Dame while living in New […]

NYC: ASPEC SAKE COMES TO RED ROOSTER HARLEM

Nils Noren and The Gohan Society present ‘SAKE COMES TO HARLEM’ A Cross-Cultural Pairing Dinner at RED ROOSTER HARLEM Featuring ASPEC Sake from Akita Prefecture The Gohan Society invites you to join us for a unique, cross-cultural culinary event! A unique American menu will be paired with artisanal sake from five select breweries of the […]

NYC: Hakkaisan Valentine Dinner at Kitano Hotel

On Feburary 10th and 11th Hakubai Restaurant in The Kitano New York will be holding two nights of special Valentine’s season Dinners. The dinner is limited to couples (any couples!) only. In Kaiseki style food, the seasonality of the ingredients is of paramount importance. This event features the beautiful winter season Kaiseki meal paired with […]

NYC: Hakkaisan Valentine Dinner at Kitano Hotel

On Feburary 10th and 11th Hakubai Restaurant in The Kitano New York will be holding two nights of special Valentine’s season Dinners. The dinner is limited to couples (any couples!) only. In Kaiseki style food, the seasonality of the ingredients is of paramount importance. This event features the beautiful winter season Kaiseki meal paired with […]

NYC: Daishichi Night at Kirakuya

Sake Bar Kirakuya, Daishichi “Big Seven” Kimoto Night Tuesday February. 21st. 2012 RSVP: 212-695-7272 Daishichi Kimoto Tasting Set for $15 -Comes with a special gift from Daishichi Sake Brewery Daishichi Minowamon + Daishichi Junmai + Daishichi Yuki Shibori Daishichi Minowamon Junmai Daiginjo: Glass/$26 Bottle/$150 Daishichi Junmai: Glass/$11 Bottle/$60 Daishichi Yuki Shibori Nigori: Glass/$13 Bottle/$70 Daishichi […]

NYC: 1 or 8 SUSHI SAKE 15 X 15 Pairing Dinner

Greetings from 1 OR 8, We here announce the next pairing dinner – This one is for the hard-core sushi sake fans. SUSHI SAKE 15 X 15 The ultimate sushi and sake pairing – A different sake for each 15 nigiri! Wednesday November 30th& Thursday December 1st $150 (not including tax and gratuity) per person […]

NYC: 1 or 8 SUSHI SAKE 15 X 15 Pairing Dinner

Greetings from 1 OR 8, We here announce the next pairing dinner – This one is for the hard-core sushi sake fans. SUSHI SAKE 15 X 15 The ultimate sushi and sake pairing – A different sake for each 15 nigiri! Wednesday November 30th& Thursday December 1st $150 (not including tax and gratuity) per person […]

Sake Volunteer Project 2011: Urakasumi Brewery

One of the final stops on our tohoku sake volunteer project for 2011 was the well known Urakasumi Brewery. I first visited Urakasumi in 2009 so I did get a chance to see the place before the disaster struck. I was encouraged to see that construction was well underway to fix the buildings that had […]

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 […]

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. […]