Japanese Drinks - Happy Hour

John Gauntner

John Gauntner

Posts by John Gauntner :

Changing of the Guard – Sake’s Younger Generation

Last month, I gave a presentation in Boston and then Chicago on trends and changes of late in the sake world. In preparing and delivering that presentation, I realized and was otherwise told a few things about the state of the industry that are very worth observing.

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And the Winners were... Hasegawa Sake Contest Results

From the sake archive, John writes: In any event, the winners of the four categories (junmai-shu, junmai ginjo, junmai daiginjo and yamahai/kimoto) were surprisingly unsurprising. They are all hyper famous, very well selling brands. And remember: the tasting was blind, and by 200 of their peers, i.e. dudes and dude-esses that make the stuff.

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Hasegawa Sake Competition: Surprisingly Not Surprising

From the archives, John writes: This past Sunday, the well-known sake uber distributor Hasagawa Saketen held their yearly “Kuramoto wo Kakomu-kai,” or “Hanging out with Sake Brewers” evening. Loose translations notwithstanding, it is a party that follows a tasting contest.

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Visiting Japan? Get to Nada and Fushimi

When work, vacation or other travel brings you to Japan, if you are reading this newsletter, chances are you will be interested in checking out something sake related. If you are here during the brewing season in the winter, many if not most sakagura breweries are open to tours, although in almost all cases you would need to call ahead and make reservations and arrangements. So if you or someone y...

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On Sake Vessels

But before launching into a rundown of the various vessels and their many manifestations, let me first say a tad more about the “official tasting cups” called kiki-choko briefly mentioned last month. These kiki-choko are made of white porcelain, fairly thin-lipped, hold 180cc (about six ounces), and have a bright blue pattern of concentric circles emblazoned on the bottom. 

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How Big is Big? How Small is Small?

In any industry there are big players and little players. There are always huge companies that produce widgets - or sake - in volume, with stable quality and cost-efficiency. And there are also companies that produce much less and do everything on a smaller scale. This juxtaposition exists in the worlds of widgets, beer, wine and of course, sake.

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Namazake: the Perfect Sake for Cherry Blossom Season

Namazake, or unpasteurized sake, is great for hanami cherry blossom-viewing parties, for several reasons. One reason is - like the beautiful, ephemeral sakura - namazake is short lived. Namazake must be kept quite cold, or there is a very high possibility it will undergo drastic changes.

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