75 episodes

SAKE ON AIR is an exploration into the stories, people, lifestyle, and what’s really happening in the world of SAKE and SHOCHU. The show is brought to you by a team of experts based here in the Sake Homeland of Japan, working and thriving on the front lines of the industry. Together with local and international guests from a range of fields, both sake-specific and sake-curious, each week we’ll be going beyond just, “What is sake?” and instead, exploring the excitement, challenges, depth, and possibilities in, what we think, is arguably the world’s most fascinating and enjoyable pair of beverages.

Sake On Air Sake On Air

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 28 Ratings

SAKE ON AIR is an exploration into the stories, people, lifestyle, and what’s really happening in the world of SAKE and SHOCHU. The show is brought to you by a team of experts based here in the Sake Homeland of Japan, working and thriving on the front lines of the industry. Together with local and international guests from a range of fields, both sake-specific and sake-curious, each week we’ll be going beyond just, “What is sake?” and instead, exploring the excitement, challenges, depth, and possibilities in, what we think, is arguably the world’s most fascinating and enjoyable pair of beverages.

    The Sparkling Sake Brewery

    The Sparkling Sake Brewery

    Sparkling sake is on the rise. A style that was often served and enjoyed as an exciting and curious anomaly only a few years ago has become a staple in the lineup of sake breweries all across Japan. While more and more breweries enter new products into the increasingly crowded market every year, a handful of breweries have committed a massive amount of energy and resources to doubling down on their commitment to quality and their position as leaders in this ever-more popular style.The logistical and often cost-prohibitive challenges to delivering a quality, consistent – not to mention non-exploding – bottle of sparkling sake to market are very real, however. It’s those challenges, and the resulting price on the shelf to the end consumer, that have kept many of the beautiful examples of sparkling sake out of the hands of the majority of sake lovers across the globe.One brewery in the U.K., however, has taken those challenges head on, committing to the level of craftsmanship, as well as the challenges, that go into making and delivering this exciting take on our beloved koji-fermented beverage.Aptly named, The Sparkling Sake Brewery is the largely one-man, handcrafted vision of founder and head brewer, Naoki Toyota, dedicated to producing solely sparkling sake. The result of a handful of drastic life changes, including a move to the UK from his home in Japan, along with the birth of his first child, Naoki’s fascination with the concept of “impermanence” in nature and the beautiful depiction of that which he discovered in the world of fermentation led him to pursue sparkling sake as his means of exploration and expression.Now, with the support of a team helping him to realize his passion and vision out in the world, The Sparkling Sake Brewery is releasing fresh-brewed and seasonal small-batch sparkling sake on a regular basis. From their flagship “awa” to the (currently sold out) “berries”, the brewery has also contributed their sake kasu to a unique local craft beer product, and provides shio koji for those with culinary ambitions.    This week we’re joined by head brewer Naoki Toyota, as well as brand advisor and sake educator Tracey Delaney. Together, the two walk us through the experiences the led to the birth of The Sparkling Sake Brewery, the path that brought them together on a mission to pursue sparking sake (and sake in-general) in the UK, and their excitement and ambitions for the future of category.Those curious to follow along with happenings at The Sparkling Sake Brewery can register for updates on product releases, as well as follow along on Instagram.







    As for us here @sakeonair you can always journey with us over on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You’re welcome to share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com.We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai!







    Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Interviewing George Briant Parsons Inoue of Inoue Shuzo

    Interviewing George Briant Parsons Inoue of Inoue Shuzo

    It is not so uncommon these days to come across non-Japanese sake brewers, indeed we have featured many on this show, but in the case of this week’s guest, sake is quite literally in his family’s DNA. Having been raised in the US, George Briant Inoue Parsons is now preparing to take over from his uncle to run Inoue Shuzo, makers of Hakoneyama brand sake, a 100 year old sake brewery in Kanagawa. It’s a role George never expected would fall to him, and he needed some persuasion to take up the family mantle, but he gave up a career in the hotel industry in Hawaii on hold to answer the call.As the 8th generation president in-waiting, he now faces the challenge of keeping his family tradition alive while exploring new frontiers to take the brewery into the modern age. In an industry as old as sake with so many traditions and rules, it is a tough task for any non-Japanese to adapt, but George has had the added pressure of family expectation. Suffice to say, it has been a huge learning experience, and this is just the beginning of his journey. George might be half Japanese, but having spent such a long time outside Japan, he has that natural outsider appreciation for the deeper elements of Japanese sake culture and he is able to take a fresh perspective that people who have grown up in the country perhaps cannot. He is in a rather unique position of being able to look outwardly at his brewery’s heritage and this may provide hints on what direction to steer it in the future. Perhaps following in the footsteps of his great grandfather who was something of a pioneer in promoting sake overseas, George is also trying to bring his family’s sake to an international stage. Join Sebastien Lemoine and Christopher Hughes as they explore George’s sake beginnings and his vision for the brewery.We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more Sake on Air.Until then, kampai!







    Sake on Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 39 min
    Seasonal Sake with Namazake Paul

    Seasonal Sake with Namazake Paul

    For Paul Willenberg – aka “Namazake Paul”– namazake is a unique exploration into the seasonality of sake.Based in Portland, Oregon, Paul has been lovingly cultivating what’s become arguably the most prolific source for unpasteurized sake (namazake) in the U.S. Due to namazake being primarily available only as seasonal, limited releases, along with the logistical challenges (and costs) associated with bringing this special sub-category of sake to a market that’s still very much in its early stages, availability of this exciting slice of the sake category has long been limited. However, thanks to Paul’s passion and commitment, awareness is growing, as is demand.This week Sake On Air hosts Chris Hughes and Sebastien Lemoine sit down with Namazake Paul to discuss the appeal and possibilities unique to the world of namazake, as well as the approaches and challenges to making a nama-filled sake world a reality.And speaking of seasonality, it just so happens that Paul has put together a special labor-of-love for the holiday season: the world’s first and only Sake Advent Calendar! If you’re listening to this week’s episode and have someone in your life that you think would benefit from a holiday season fueled by delicious sake, or if you’re looking to treat yourself a bit this year, there’s still time to score this special seasonal package in time for the holidays.Share your namazake experiences with us here @sakeonair over on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you’re curious to know what the cast and crew of Sake On Air are up to, be sure to follow along with us at any or all of the above. You’re welcome to share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com.We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more Sake on Air.Until then, kampai!







    Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 52 min
    Sake Travel Episode 5: Kyoto with the Sake Concierge

    Sake Travel Episode 5: Kyoto with the Sake Concierge

    “My life in Kyoto is my life in sake.”Those few words from this week’s guest, Sake Concierge Takashi “Umio” Eguchi, rather appropriately and succinctly sum up why it is we were so excited to have him join us to explore such an iconic sake region.Author of the excellent tasting notes for The Japanese Sake Bible, host of his insightful YouTube tasting series and the accompanying Sake Concierge website, as well as hosting a wide range of tasting events and tours throughout Kyoto and the surrounding regions exploring the finer details of sake, Umio’s love and appreciation for his home of Kyoto is palpable.Note, however, that while this week’s show does indeed touch upon the greater Kyoto region just a bit, as often happens, the Fushimi region pretty much steals the show this week. Which is fine, as there’s never enough time that can be dedicated to this iconic area. (Those keen to dig deeper can revisit Episode 55, or John’s interview with Gekkeikan from the Sake Future Summit, as well). Rest assured, we’ll be back to Kyoto again – and again, and again... Another exciting component of this week’s show is that we’ve finally got our often behind-the-scenes, ever-traveling social media supervisor (and co-host of Sake Unplugged), Cindy Bissig taking a turn in the interviewer seat!And one more thing: as you’ll hear at the top of the episode, Sake Future Summit is coming back! Tune-in for info on dates and times and be sure to follow along for more details as they materialize.For that, along with plenty more sake and shochu updates, follow along with us at @sakeonair on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or if you’d like to share your thoughts or questions with the hosts, please reach out to us at questions@sakeonair.com.We’ll be back with more Sake On Air in just a couple of weeks.Until then, kampai!Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is recorded and broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 48 min
    Taste with the Toji & Simone Maynard

    Taste with the Toji & Simone Maynard

    As much as this week’s episode is informative, it’s also a bit of a celebration.Simone Maynard (aka: Sake Mistress) has been a dedicated, hard-working evangelist spreading the good word of sake in her native home of Australia for years. That was until the spring of 2020 sent any and all opportunity to congregate around a bottle of nihonshu to a screeching halt. Unable to sit idly by while Japan’s breweries’ sales slumped and sake-inspired communities seemed to gradually dissolve, she launched Taste with the Toji, a weekly online community bringing sake lovers and sake-curious into the virtual room living room’s of sake breweries throughout Japan. What began as an experiment in hopes of at least managing to do something rather than nothing while being stuck in one of the most restrictively locked down regions of Australia, that experiment organically evolved into a nearly weekly gathering that is now approaching its 100th session as of this recording.Managing to cultivate a sake-centric community that incorporated a vast range of Japan’s most inspiring breweries and dedicated sake-driven followers eagerly tuning in each week for new sake discoveries and to check in with new and old friends alike, Taste with the Toji has become an international sake-lovers’ virtual watering hole that a diverse and ever-growing community not only takes part in, but also contributes to.For a number of reasons outside of her control, despite extensive and incessant communication with breweries and community members supporting her work from Japan, the Sake Mistress was unable to venture back to the sake homeland until September 2022. Thanks to her thoughtful and dedicated engagement with the world of sake, her return marked both an inauguration and a celebration, as she was honored the with the prestigious title of Sake Samurai.For this week’s episode, we interview Simone in front of a live audience, digging into her personal sake story, but also discussing her experience with the evolution of Taste with the Toji while distanced from Japan but connected through community at a distance over the past 2+ years, how it feels to be back on the island after so long for an entirely unexpected (but well-deserved) honor, and how she’s thinking about her sake path ahead.For some of our listeners, this episode may come across as a bit “inside baseball.” That’s because the live audience gathered for this week’s recording is comprised of individuals that have been either dedicated followers or contributors (most often both) to the Taste with the Toji community over the past couple of years. An endeavor intrinsically interwoven into Japan’s sake landscape, the support of many individuals based here on the island have been a critical component fueling what Taste with the Toji has grown into. For many, this was the first chance to meet in person, celebrating the work of an inspiring Sake Mistress and an opportunity to raise an ochoko together in real life.This was a rather special session that we all enjoyed a great deal. We hope that all of our listeners enjoy it as much as we did.







    We’re as busy as ever at @sakeonair over on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you’re curious to know what the cast and crew of Sake On Air are up to or awaiting hints about what we’ve got coming down the pipeline, be sure to follow along with any or all of the above. If you’d like to share your thoughts or questions with the hosts, please reach out to us at questions@sakeonair.com.We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with more Sake On Air.Until then, kampai!Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 58 min
    Sake Travel Episode 4: Niigata City

    Sake Travel Episode 4: Niigata City

    We’re continuing on our Sake Travel series this week with a visit to the city of Niigata. While the entire prefecture of Niigata is littered with fantastic sake destinations, we’ve decided to narrow the scope just a bit and save our explorations into the greater region for another day. That being said, we’ve dabbled in Nagaoka and Sado Island as part of our previous episodes, which are you can tune into now if you’re seeking a deeper exploration into the larger region right this minute.In order to help us do this great city justice we’ve recruited Tomomi Duquette to the show this week, founder and director of Niigata Sake Lovers, not to mention a prolific educator and navigator throughout the larger world of sake in general.In this week’s discussion we more-or-less arrived at the conclusion that a visit to Niigata should start (and end) with a visit to Tabi Bar and Ponshukan – both located right inside Niigata Station – but where you go from there is really up to you.When it comes to drinks and dining we touch upon Furumachi Jikon, Bit, Armonia, Ponshu Girl, Suzuki Sengyoten (for the early-risers), Minato Sushi, and more. If you’re in town at the right time, there’s Furumachi Burarizake (Furumachi Pub/Izakaya Crawl), the (in)famous sake festival, Sake no Jin, and the recent Niigata brewing industry mainstay, the Niigata Jozo (Brewing) Summit.For those looking to explore the wider world of Niigata brewing and beverage, spending a night in the neighboring fermentation town of Nuttari is a must, not to mention the ever-growing Niigata Wine Country and the enjoyment of Japan’s first craft beer brewery, along with a handful of other great local beer producers.For sake brewery tours, Imayotsukasa is an easy (and highly recommended) visit, as well as DHC for its hospitality and welcoming setup at Kayamatei tasting room and cafe. The brand new doburoku-centric producer (and café), Lagoon Brewery, is new entry making an impact thanks to its great sake and beautiful location.If you’re looking for something on your way in (or out) of town, we touch on a few sake-centric or heavily sake-influenced excursions, including Kamosu Mori and the surrounding onsen region (not to mention Tomomi’s new brewery project), or a visit to Tsubame Sanjo to explore the insane level of craftsmanship in metal working, producing some of the world’s most sought after culinary knives and the most inspiring copper wares north of the equator.Niigata is incredibly accessible, yet still resting firmly in Hidden Gem status. As much as we’d like to keep it all to ourselves, we thought you deserved to enjoy it as much as we do on your next visit to Japan.For more sake explorations and regional adventures, follow along with us at @sakeonair on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, or if you’d like to share your thoughts or questions with the hosts, please reach out to us at questions@sakeonair.com. We’ll be back with more Sake On Air in just a couple of weeks.Until then, kampai!







    Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is recorded and broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

tahomafuji ,

Sake on air

Thanks for creating this platform. Can’t wait to hear what the future holds.

Goldwynn12 ,

Great podcast on sake.

Great podcast with interesting aspects

Aesymen'tes ,

It Certainly Has Some Roots To Grow

It is next to impossible to find any sake related podcasts at all in the present moment. And fewer with anything relevant or interesting to discuss. As an American sake enthusiast, I would love to devour as much knowledge and history on the subject as I can!

This podcast has been a rather valuable insight into the world of sake, but unfortunately with some glaring flaws that I sincerely hope they address in the future. First off, the group is almost near impossible to hear, even at the highest volume. A lot of talking points go completely unnoticed or don't stick due to half of the words being lost in the patchy silence.

And second, there really doesn’t seem to be that much structure to their discussions. While I do like these round table talks, it seems like the hosts are just spitballing around thoughts instead of giving me a more concise narrative. I do like it, but I wish they were a little more structured.

As it stands I appreciate this pod but I’m a little disappointed. Hopefully the show will continue to improve with time, cause they’re really the only game in town!

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