1) For a very long time, women were not permitted into Saké breweries. It has only been in the last forty years or so, that such matters have changed. There are now even female Toji, master brewers, though some breweries remain very traditional in this regard.
The Mainichi Daily News has a new article, Keeping a Brewing Tradition Alive, discussing Hirano Setsuko, a woman who owns Hirano Honten, a Saké brewery. She took over the brewery when her father died, and she has largely tried to keep it very traditional.
Setsuko stated: "There are men called Toji who help with the brewing. They are very traditional, and they do not want women in the room where the sake is made. In the past, women could never enter at any time of the year, but that is changing. Now I can go back there, but I don't go while they are brewing."
She has no difficulty with this issue, understanding the point of view of the brewers. This is very old fashioned, but there are still many in Japan who hold to their traditions. As the owner, Setsuko could certainly force the brewers to accept her presence, but she won't do so.
2) John Gauntner, the famed Saké expert and "Saké Dendoushi" ("Saké Evangelist"), is entering the blogosphere. Though he already runs an excellent Saké website, Saké World, he has also created a Saké educational blog hat will have weekly posts on the fundamentals of Saké - plus a bit. Some of the content will be similar to some of what is in his newsletter, but a shorter, more concise, more focused educational angle. It is well worth checking out!