Friday, March 7, 2014

Audrey Hepburn Sake Debuts Next Week!

Our so-called "Audrey Hepburn" sake (our flagship, Tani Junmai Ginjo) is being presented at an annual Kyushu-wide sake sampling symposium next weekend--for brewing professionals only.

On this occasion dozens of Toji's, Government Technical Experts and Academics critique (often with brutal honesty) the best of what breweries have accomplished so far this season. Breweries will be present from Saga, Nagasaki, Oita, Kumamoto and Fukuoka. At a minimum, the headcount stands right now at 28 tojis alone! A feat given how busy these master-brewers are right now.

I thoroughly enjoy being an apprentice to a master on a day such as this one. I recall last year's event with great fondness. Truly, the only gaijin in the room. ("Gaijin" means non-Japanese, foreigner, or even connotes being an alien). But as I'm fond of telling, "I only look gaijin. I'm really Japanese!"

This occasion is essential for consumers, though the public is not allowed, as it helps brewers make choices on pasteurization, aging, adding water, adding distilled alcohol, whether to add fining agents (and what type!) etc. etc. from that day forward. Suggestions can really help jizake brewers improve their sakes before releasing them to the public. In Kyushu, there is a great deal of camaraderie, friendship and mutual respect among the brewers. I am thrilled to belong to this group! 

It's nerve-racking, but surely not for Ms. Hepburn. She's as graceful as ever. May our sake shine like a star next week!

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