Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sake News

Kanpai! Here is another short list of some of the interesting Sake articles that have been published lately. It is great to see more and more coverage for Sake, though I recommend that anyone seeking to publish a Sake article check it at least a few times for accuracy. A few basic errors continue showing up in introductory Sake articles, and those errors would be easy to eliminate if you had a knowledgeable Sake person check your facts. Let us also hope that we see more than just introductory Sake articles in the future. Sake has many depths and all those varied facets make great material for articles.

1) Does playing music during Sake production lead to smoother Sake? In The Japan Times, you should read the article, Walking In The Steps Of Samurai, which talks about the Japanese city of Sasayama in the Hyogo Prefecture. The article provides some interesting history and also discusses the Hohmei Sake Brewery, where the same company has been producing Sake since 1797. The brewery now hooks up each barrel of Sake with its own speakers so music can be played, and the vibrations will travel through the Sake. A variety of different musics will be played and it is thought this leads to a smoother Sake. There are a number of wineries, in places such as Spain, South Africa and Chile, which play music in their cellars, or sometimes even in the vineyards. I don't know if it actually works or not, but it is an intriguing practice.

2) Sake produced in Maine? Yes, it is coming and that is good news to local Sake lovers. The Seacoast Online posted a new article, Bringing the art of sake to the Seacoast by Deborah McDermott. This spring could see the opening of the Blue Current Brewery, in Kittery, Maine, by Dan Ford and John Sygtowski. They hope to begin production by the end of March and eventually open a tasting room too. There is a small growth of Sake breweries in the U.S., with around a dozen currently in operation or opening in the near future. Most of those breweries used to be in California but that is changing and you'll find breweries now in places like Texas and Minnesota, and now soon in Maine and Connecticut. I eagerly look forward to taste the Blue Current Sakes, and see what New England can do with this wondrous beverage.

3) More Sake qualifications? In January, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), with the cooperation of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), has held several Sake seminars in London. The Drinks Business reports that this is but a preliminary to the WSET's project later this year to create a Sake qualification course, the Level 3 Award in Sake. There is little information available currently on what the course will entail, though the fact it is "Level 3" means it could be similar in some respects to the Level 3 Award in Wine & Spirits.

As I already possess a Sake certification from John Gauntner and the Sake Education Council, I wouldn't seek out this additional WSET certification. And I highly recommend that anyone interested in learning more about Sake seek out Gauntner's certification course. However, I also support efforts to train more people in Sake and think it is good that the WSET is getting involved in Sake education. I look forward to learning more details about this certification course, and seeing more Sake advocates come forward.

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