62 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

    • Places & Travel
    • 4.9 • 24 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.

    Okawari: U.S. Love of Nigori with “The Sake Ninja”

    Okawari: U.S. Love of Nigori with “The Sake Ninja”

    In an ideal world we’d bring you listeners a brand-new episode each and every week. While we can’t see that happening in the immediate future, in the process of creating or preparing for many of our episodes we end up with a lot of fun and insightful conversations that sadly just don’t make it into a final episode.Whether it be interviews conducted in attempt to broaden our perspective and gain further insight into a specific topic before attempting to tackle it, or an unanticipated tangent during a regular recording that we just can’t bring ourselves to carve up, but also can’t force into the overall show structure, we’ve continued to amass quite a bit of material that we would love to share with our listeners at some point and in some capacity.That’s what we’re testing the waters with this week, in our first (but hopefully not last) episode of “Okawari”.In Japanese, the term okawari refers to ordering “another round”. Essentially, if you’re asking for okawari, you want to keep the party going. That’s what we hope this week’s show (and future okawari installments) can bring to the table.As part of the process of examining the world of Nigori Sake for episode 60, we thought it would be interesting to get a bit of insight into the U.S. market’s unique attachment to this special style. In order to do that, we called up sake expert, certified Sake Samurai, and self-declared Sake Ninja, Chris Johnson, to share with us the evolution and status of the style in the U.S.One thing for sure is that we’ll be coaxing the Sake Ninja to reappear in future episodes, as there are dozens of topics that we’d love to pick his brain on, and he deserves a feature all his own. That’s one of the reasons we’re giving this week’s conversation okawari status. Our chat with Chris is both great supportive material for our previous episode, while providing more than enough substance to be fully satisfying as a stand-alone episode in its own right.







    We’ve got lots more material in the vault that we could use to pour you all “another round” of your favorite past topics, guests, and even entirely new snippets and insights. Let us know what you think of the concept and we’ll see what we can do to develop the format in the future.You can send those thoughts to questions@sakeonair.com or message us via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Note that you’ll also help out the show by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or on whichever service you rely upon for your podcast needs.Thanks for supporting us here at Sake On Air. We’ll be back with more sake and shochu-infused goodness in just a couple of weeks.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 a co-production between Export Japan and Potts.K Productions, with audio production by Frank Walter.Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 42 min
    The Murky Waters of Nigori Sake

    The Murky Waters of Nigori Sake

    There’s a fascinating schism that’s emerged between the domestic and international markets’ relationship with nigori-style sake over that past few decades.With its rather odd positioning landing it someplace between a more “traditional” style and at the same time a relatively “new” product proposition, a few distinct exceptions aside, nigori sake generally makes up an incredibly small portion of most makers’ product lineup.At the same time, in some international markets (the U.S. in particular), nigori sake has developed a life of its own as an ever-present and iconic style representing the sake category as a whole, resulting in relatively more common placement on drink menus and amidst distributor portfolios than you’d often find in Japan.Recent for creative and nuanced interpretations aside, for many years more “standard” offerings of nigori sake tended to be sold as (and as a result, perceived as) more budget products. However, the burdens of merely crafting a nigori sake are many and varied – arguably more demanding than a great deal of “clear” product – with the craft of producing a truly great nigori sake being in many cases a rather herculean task.Why the disconnect? Is there really a “typical” or “traditional” nigori-style sake? Is Japan slowly developing a newfound appreciation for new styles of nigori? Do international brewers have an advantage when it comes to indoctrinating new sake drinkers through nigori-style sake?







    Discussions around these topics and more this week with several of your regular Sake On Air hosts Sebastien Lemoine, Chris Hughes and Justin Potts. In preparing for this episode the team asked around different corners of the industry for various perspective and insight. You’ll get a bit of that here, but expect more from those interviewees in the coming weeks, as well.There’s a lot to love about nigori, an infinitely diverse and growing style poised for a renaissance in the global world of sake. We hope you’ll come along for the ride.Thanks for once again tuning in to Sake On Air. You can help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or on any of your favorite services that deliver you all of your podcasting needs. Contact us at questions@sakeonair.com with any thoughts or feelings, or go  ahead and follow us on  Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Everything from Sake Future Summit 2020, as well as a number of other recordings, are all archived over on our YouTube channel, as well.Thanks for choosing sake and shochu. Be sure to pour yourself a bit of nigori this week, as well.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 a co-production between Export Japan and 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
    Sake Future Summit 2020 Revisited (Part 2)

    Sake Future Summit 2020 Revisited (Part 2)

    Just a few episodes back we decided to revisit some of the highlights from Sake Future Summit 2020. In preparing for and editing that episode there was so much that we wanted to include but couldn’t in the interest of time, we devised a clever solution: we just did it again.As with the previous round, if you have the time to really pick through all of these on the official Sake On Air YouTube channel, the visual component adds a lot to these and there’s a great deal more fascinating and insightful material that we just couldn’t cram in. Also, seeing as how half of the programming for the Sake Future Summit was comprised of interviews, tours, presentations and discussions conducted with individuals from the Japanese side of the industry and carried out in Japanese and subtitled, a majority of the great programming is still stuck in a visual-only format. If you’re sipping sake or shochu over the weekend, firing those sessions up alongside your beverage-of-choice isn’t a bad way to spend an evening. You can find those all archived over on our YouTube channel.







    In this episode you’ll hear from hear:- How the pros of the U.K. sake market are looking to bring it to the next level in a discussion with Barry McCaughley (Restaurateur; F&B Development Consultant), Miho Komatsu (Sake Specialist for Marussia Beverage; Marketing and International Sales for Akashi-tai Sake Brewery), Akiko Konishi (Manager of Intl. Dept. at Konishi Shuzo), and navigated by Oliver Hilton-Johnson (Tengu Sake).- About how some unique approaches to the Spanish market could change the game for sake, together with Pablo Alomar Salvioni (President of Salvioni & Alomar), Francois Chartier (Aroma Specialist; Master Blender for Tanaka 1789 X Chartier), and Rubén Pol Ramon (Head Sommelier at Restaurant Disfrutar, Barcelona).- The ways in which shochu is poised to be woven into the future of the world’s best bars with Don Lee (Industry mentor; former partner Existing Conditions), Ryan Chetiyawardana (Founder of Mr. Lyan; Cocktail bartender), and Chikako Ichihara (CEO of Azix; Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association US Liaison officer).- How French cuisine could pave the way for sake to be incorporated into the upper echelons of the epicurean experience, together with Xavier Thuizat (President of Kura Master; Chef Sommelier of Hotel Crillon) and Marco Pelletier (Vigneron at Domaine de Galouchey; Proprietor of Vantre, Paris).- About the fascinating ways that sake and shochu are being incorporated into some of the U.S.’s best restaurants in a dialogue between Nobuo Fukuda (Chef at Teeter House), Sachiko Miyagi (Sake Expert at Tippsy Sake), Mutsuko Soma (Chef at Kamonegi; Owner of Hannyatou), David Schlosser (Chef at Shibumi), and Christopher Gomez (Beverage Director at Shibumi).







    Thanks for tuning in this week. Please help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite service bringing you your podcasts. Contact us at questions@sakeonair.com with any thoughts, feelings or kind words about the show, or go  ahead and follow us on  Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to us over on YouTube, as well.Thanks for choosing sake and shochu. 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 a co-production between Export Japan and Potts.K Productions, with audio production by Frank Walter.Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 57 min
    Water, Wood, and Wild Things (and Sake!) with Hannah Kirshner

    Water, Wood, and Wild Things (and Sake!) with Hannah Kirshner

    In the past we’ve hosted episodes with a handful of non-Japanese individuals that have dedicated themselves to the work and lifestyle that comes along with being a kurabito (brewer) in Japan. We’ve even had a guest that’s been so deep in the game for so long that he’s approached toji status.This week, however, we sit down for a sort of fireside chat with an inspiring and insightful young woman who not only committed herself to the rhythm of a sake brewery, but in doing so, made herself a part of the small mountain town that it resides in, and all that comes along with it.Lucky for us, in Water, Wood & Wild Things, accomplished writer, artist and food stylist Hannah Kirshner was kind enough to document it for all of us, as well.Scheduled to release on March 23rd via Viking, Hannah conveys her experiences in Yamanaka since 2015 in a manner that I’ve rarely experienced in books crafted to communicate an experience of life in Japan. Maybe it’s because the book isn’t really about Japan.







    While in Yamanaka, Hannah has set up shop in a sake brewery, in this case Matsuura Shuzo, makers of Shishi no Sato brand sake, committed herself to apprenticing behind the bar with a borderline-obsessed sake evangelist and service professional, relentlessly pursued the “way” of tea, dedicated her time and energy to the lathe with a woodturning artisan of national acclaim, insistently pursued the inherent warmth in the craft of charcoal making, grown indoctrinated into the world of wild game hunting, and all of the other things you might imagine (and many you wouldn’t) that would accompany such a lifestyle and commitment.Thankfully, there are a lot of books these days that focus with precision on what sake is. In Water, Wood & Wild Things, by shedding light on the ways in which the people of Yamanaka’s livelihood is interwoven into the fabric of their work, community, and hence their identity, we finally get a voice that shares with us why sake – and the ecosystem that it’s inseparable from – is important.







    You can help new listeners discover Sake On Air by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite service for podcast enjoyment. Send us your thoughts at questions@sakeonair.com and follow along with us on  Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. There’s also a lot of great sake and shochu-inspired programming over on YouTube.We’ll be back with more Sake On Air very, very soon. March is going to be a busy month. You can thank us later.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 a co-production between Export Japan and Potts.K Productions, with audio production by Frank Walter.Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

    • 57 min
    Understanding Umeshu with Todd Van Horne

    Understanding Umeshu with Todd Van Horne

    Umeshu might be one of the most universally pleasing drink categories on the planet. Its characteristic sweet and spunky qualities can be served up any myriad of ways and seem to tickle just about everyone’s taste buds no matter how you spin it.However, while the style may seem relatively straightforward, the category is anything but.The content of this show tends to stick very close to the core categories of its namesake: sake and shochu. However, when it comes to umeshu, in order to fully understand the depth and breadth of what’s out there, we have to open up the conversation to the wider world of drinks and spirits.To help us unravel its nuance and mysteries, this week we’ve recruited Todd Van Horne. Having a long history in Japan, focusing primarily on food and fermentation, he’s found himself smack in the heart of Japan’s “ume country” – Wakayama – where he wound up working with an ume producer creating, blending and transporting umeshu to the global market. The number of non-Japanese taking up roles as sake brewers here and there is on the rise, but in the world of ume and umeshu-dedicated individuals, Todd is indeed an outlier.From the significance of ume in the Japanese diet, to the beverage’s historical position as a do-it-yourself creation, this week your hosts Rebekah Wilson-Lye, Christopher Pellegrini, and Justin Potts join forces with our special guest to try and cover all you’ll need to know to start discerning what questions to ask about that next bottle of umeshu that you encounter in the wild.







    Please help new listeners discover Sake On Air by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or whatever service you depend upon for your podcast enjoyment. Reach out to us at questions@sakeonair.com with any thoughts, feelings or kind words about the show. You can follow us on  Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as well, and if you’d be so kind, don’t forget to subscribe to us over on YouTube.Thanks for listening this week, and thanks for choosing sake and shochu.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 a co-production between Export Japan and 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 2 min
    Sake Future Summit 2020 Revisited (Part 1)

    Sake Future Summit 2020 Revisited (Part 1)

    Since hosting Sake Future Summit 2020 back at the end of November, we’ve since gone and spliced up that nearly 30 hours of dialogue and nearly as many programs into individual videos to help make topics, speakers and conversations easier to find and enjoy.Having been conducted with a visual component, viewing these on the official Sake On Air YouTube channel is arguably the best way to take in a lot of these discussions, however there are a lot of great ideas and conversations that we felt ought to translate just as well to an audio-only format. That’s why this week we’ve decided to weave together segments from some of those sessions into a podcast.For our listeners that have already exhausted everything from the actual Summit, this will likely be revisiting familiar territory. But for those that missed out on a lot of the programming, hopefully this will serve as a meaty digest of the depth and breadth explored, as well as prompt you to go back and visit or revisit the great conversations that are all archived over on our YouTube channel.It’s worth noting, however, that a little more than half of the programming for the Sake Future Summit was comprised of interviews, tours, presentations and discussions conducted with individuals entrenched in the Japanese side of the industry, and as a result, were conducted in Japanese. On YouTube, all of those discussions have been translated, subtitled and made available and accessible. However, due to their nature, that means that roughly half of the programming is still tethered to YouTube. If you’re so inclined, we highly recommend checking those out, as well. It’s material that we feel uniquely privileged to have been able to organize and deliver, and offers a great deal of insight into the topics and conversations permeating the Japanese sake and shochu industries.







    In this episode you’ll hear from hear:- A convincing argument for selecting sake over wine with local Taiwanese cuisine with Wolfgang Angyal (President & CEO of Riedel Japan Co. Ltd.) and Michael Ou (Owner/chef of Hanabi Izakaya; President of Ho-Wei Sake Imports in Taiwan).- How dedication to the craft of imo (sweet potato) shochu rises above all with Stephen Lyman (Author and Shochu Specialist), Tekkan Wakamatsu (Master Brewer-Distiller at Yamato Zakura Shuzo), and Maya Aley (Shochu Expert).- About the true motivations behind saving a sake brewery through unprecedented partnerships with Marcus Consolini and Yasutaka Daimon of Daimon Brewery.- Tips for getting the most out of Imo, Kome, and Mugi shochu with your food, both at the bar with Shingo Gokan (Founder of SG Group) and Joshin Atone (Brand Manager for SG Shochu), as well as at home.- Why the future expansion of koji outside of Japan is potentially more exciting and dynamic than here in the homeland, with Jeremy Umansky (Chef/owner of Larder Delicatessen and Bakery; Author) and Koichi Higuchi (Director of Higuchi Matsunosuke Shoten Co., Ltd.)- How music legend Richie Hawtin took what he’s built through ENTER.Sake and brought a new vision to life in the midst of a global pandemic with Sake 36.- About ways to interpret and untangle the increasingly confusing relationship between mugi (barley) shochu and Japanese whiskey with renowned author and journalist, Brian Ashcraft.







    With the Sake Future Summit, we recognize that we tried to thread the needle a bit, by hosting a mix of rather industry-centric discussion, alongside a good deal of more light-hearted entertainment focusing on the simple enjoyment of sake and shochu. Our thought was that, the people, places, processes and activities surrounding these amazing drinks are just inherently. Our hope then is that, whether you’re just getting to know what sake and shochu have to offer, or have long been committed to these koji-born beverages, you’ll agree.If you enjoy Sake On Air, help new

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

Goldwynn12 ,

Great podcast on sake.

Great podcast with interesting aspects

BriceBurman ,

Great for beginners and cognoscenti

Great content due to the diversity of each episode. As deep as the world of sake, each episode brings its own unique flavors to your ears. An excellent blend of factual and anecdotal knowledge. Keep up the great work SOA crew. I appreciate the unique guests and your approach to spreading the conviviality of sake and shochu.

Domenic Alonge ,

Invaluable asset

For people around the world who do not live in Japan, and do not speak Japanese, but really love Sake, this podcast is invaluable. The multiple hosts are deeply involved in the Sake industry in Japan and offer insights that can’t be found anywhere else. There passion for the best beverage in the world is evident. Please please please keep making more episodes. Thank you hosts and thank you to the JSS for supporting this awesome podcast.

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