Monday, April 27, 2020

Sake Industry News: John Gauntner's Latest Educational Endeavor

Even though Sake continues to grow in popularity every year, there still is only a small collection of sources for information about this fascinating and delicious beverage. There are less than 20 books available about Sake and most of the articles in the mainstream media are rather basic and introductory. Few articles dive deeper into the Sake industry, providing the type of stories which are readily found in the wine, beer and spirits world.

One of the exceptions has long been John Gauntner, the famed Sake expert and Sake Dendoushi ("Evangelist"). I've previously raved about some of his Sake books, such as Sake Confidential, and for many years he's published a free Sake newsletter, Sake World, which has always been informative and interesting. Most recently, he's been publishing a more specialized newsletter, Sake Industry News, and if you love Sake, if you want to dive deeper into compelling Sake industry, then you should subscribe.

The first issue of the Sake Industry News was released in September 2019, and it's now a twice-monthly newsletter, released on the first and 15th of each month. As their website states, you'll "get news from the sake industry in Japan – including trends, business news, changes and developments, and technical information on sake types and production methods that are well beyond the basics." Each issue contains about 6-8 articles on Sake, some with information that has only previously been disseminated in Japan. It would be difficult for most Americans to find these articles in any other way.

I've been subscribing to the Sake Industry News since the beginning, and I've been impressed with the range and diversity of information that has been featured. It's been an excellent way to learn more about the world of Sake, to acquire deeper information than what has been previously available. It's the type of industry intelligence that I can easily find for many other drinks, from wine to whiskey, but which has been unfortunately lacking in the Sake world.

If we just look at the last three issues, #12-#14, we can see the diversity of the Sake articles, as well as plenty of interest. For example, in issue #12, there were details about a new Sake brewery opening in Hawaii as well as some intriguing statistics about Sake exports. There was also a lengthier article about ethyl caproate and its effect on Sake. Though that sounds like an overly technical article, it actually was very approachable and utterly fascinating as it has to do with why certain Sakes possess certain types of flavors.

Some of the articles in Issue #13 touched on a new Sake rice, the revival of a Sake brand, and the planned opening, in the near future, of Kato Sake Works in Brooklyn, New York. There was also a lengthier profile of a specific Kura, Sake brewery, named Miyoshikiku Shuzō. Some of the articles in Issue #14 touched on a new Sake yeast strain, a Sake region acquiring Geographical Indication status, and a fascinating article on rice milling.

I've learned plenty from reading these newsletters and eagerly look forward to each new issue. They fill a niche that has long been missing in the Sake world, and hopefully it will encourage other publications to consider publishing more in-depth articles about Sake, and not just some introductory piece. I strongly encourage everyone interested in Sake in subscribing to Sake Industry News. 

The cost for a one-year subscription (24 issues, delivered to your email inbox on the 1st and 15th of each month) is $100, or if you prefer to subscribe month to month, it's $10 a month. When you sign up as a paid subscriber you'll get a 31 day free trial and you also have access to all the archives of the past issues. This is a very reasonable price for the value of the Sake information you'll find in these newsletters.

You can subscribe here. and read some prior newsletters here. I'm looking forward to the next issue, which should be out this Friday, May 1.


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