Craft sake takes experimental turn in U.S. as popularity grows

By Ko Hirano

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It's delicious and enjoyable. A bit dangerous as it goes down like water, but packs a punch. Enjoy.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Same thing that happened to sushi is going to happen to sake. American creations based on the original but new and different.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Competition will make foreign made sake better than Japanese sake.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I remember the first time I had a "California roll".

And remembered thinking that it is possible for both new and old to be good. Different, but good.

I don't think American nihon-shuu will ever compete with the best Japanese nihon-shuu, but that is not the goal.

And it reminds me of the awesome shochu from Hawaii that I had the pleasure of drinking a couple of years ago when I was in Hawaii. From the Hawaii Shochuu Company.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Insane Wayne - "Competition will make foreign made sake better than Japanese sake."

I think you are forgetting the heavy rivalry amongst the 1200+ breweries in Japan right now. Competition doesn't get much tighter than that! Techniques and lessons learned over the past 1300 years today produce an amazing array of flavors, textures and products. It's doubtful that foreign breweries will easily rise to this level of competition.

Much like craft beer changed the image of beer in America, craft sake will lead to new sensations and methods. Foreign breweries are sure to forge ahead on their own paths, making new and interesting sake. It's an exciting time to see new innovation in the field, and I look forward to the opportunity to taste some of these new products. Interesting times ahead.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wouldn't most small regional distilleries in Japan making jizake qualify as "craft sake"? I can understand "craft beer" meaning a reaction against Bud, Coors, Miller etc. making mass market swill in vast factories, but lots of sake is already made by lots of small firms using local ingredients and mostly traditional methods. What is the difference between craft sake and jizake?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"What is the difference between craft sake and jizake?"

Japanese Sake or Seishu is defined as having the following ingredients: rice, rice-koji, water, sometimes brewers alcohol. Only "regular sake" is allowed additional flavoring agents of sweetener, acids and amino acids.

Jizake merely means locally produced sake. Often the term is used in reference to smaller brewers.

Craft Sake, per the current USA use of the term sometimes adds things like hops, fruit, and other non-traditional ingredients. With the addition of those ingredients it ceases to be called Nihon-shu or Seishu in Japan and becomes an "other alcohol" category drink. Not really the same class of drink at that point. I think craft brewers are frequently making both standard definition Sake and flavored Sake. Still, a wonderful product, and sure to bring out some interesting ideas with their background in craft brewed beers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My father really loves sake. I used to send him a bottle once a month. Thanks to the “war on terror”, I am prohibited to send it to him. What a joke. Promote sake but don’t let people have it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The major set back of brewing sake outside of Japan is the inability to access of rice variety specially grown for sake.

yamadanishiki is one variety that is popular in Japan to brew sake.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I live in Australia and a while ago when I was buying beer at my local liquor store I was surprised they have Australian brewed sake in store.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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