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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!!

I recently attended the JFC Sake Expo in Manhattan. This is a trade event that introduces sakes imported by the sake importing company JFC.

For me, it’s a great chance to get up close and personal with some of the great sakes brought to the States. Here’s a sampling of what I tasted at this event and you can also check out the Gallery below to see some pictures of the JFC Sake Expo 2010!

Ippongi Brewery
Brand: Denshin
This is a vibrant brand from beautiful Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan. Represented by Ippongi Brewery Vice President Mr. Kakutaro Kubo, the sakes a fresh, lively and have some of the most stunning branding and labels I’ve seen.
>See All Ippongi Denshin Sakes

Daishichi Sake Brewery
Brand: Daishichi
Mr. Ad Blankenstjn was the brewery representative on hand for Daishichi – which is the Brewery famous for their strict adherence to the kimoto Brewing method and their special flat rice polishing.
>See All Daishichi Sakes

Miyazaki Sake Brewery
Brand: Miyanoyuki
Rena Miyazaki introduces her family’s Miyanoyuki brand. They make both junmai and honjozo styles that are hearty and robust and go well with food.
>See All Miyazaki Miyanoyuki Sakes

Akira Sake
Brand: Akira
From beautiful Kanazawa, this is a new organic sake that is headed to our shores soon! I visited this Kanazawa last march and I can tell you this sake is fantastic and made from 100% organic, delicious local rice. Mr. Sugano was introducing Akira to many New Yorkers!

Aiyu Sake Brewery
Brand: Tomoju
Michiko Kanehira is the president of Aiyu which makes the lovely Tomoju brand. I tasted her new and delicious Umeshu (plum sake) that is coming soon to the U.S.!
>See All Aiyu Tomoju Sakes

Chiyomusubi Sake Brewery
Brand: Chiyomusubi
President Haruo Okasora introduced his yummy Chiyomusubi sakes. This brand is a leader in exporting premium cup sakes which have a special place in my heart! Try them!
>See All Chiyomusubi Sakes

Check out the gallery below for even more brands I tasted at this JFC event: