Kudos to John Gauntner, the famed Saké expert and "Saké Dendoushi" ("Saké Evangelist"), for his recent inspiring achievements.
First, in June, John became a certified Master of Saké Tasting under the auspices of the Nihon Jouzou Kyoukai, the Brewing Society of Japan. Second, in July, John became a certified Saké Expert Assessor under the auspices of the Shurui Souken, the National Research Institute of Brewing. This is the only governmental Saké certification in existence and John is only the second non-Japanese person to be so certified. In addition, there are only a total of 40 people with this certification. Testing for this certification is extremely difficult.
John is also the only non-Japanese person to have both of the above certifications, which is quite a significant achievement. He deserves a hearty congratulations for this accomplishment, as well as his devotion to Saké.
I was fortunate to have met John at his Saké Professional Course, and he was an excellent instructor, as well as an all-around nice person. He is certainly deserving of praise for all he has done for the Saké industry, and I hope to learn more from him in the future, continuing my own Saké education.