Discover Sake

Sorry for the inconvenience but tickets for Discover Sake are SOLD OUT!

Color, aroma, flavor and texture: all important traits to consider when you’re discovering your new favorite sake. Unlike wine, sake’s brewing process is more closely aligned with that of beer and the quality of rice, milling, polishing and filtering play a big role in the taste experience. We invite enthusiasts and amateurs alike, to join us as we host five of Japan’s most respected sake brewers, each from different prefectures, for an evening of premium sake selections paired with dinner bites from our Cornell Cafe. Guests will also hear from John Gauntner, “the Sake Guy,” as he gives short talks about what makes each of these breweries unique. Need a few more reasons to attend? Check out our Top 5! 

Event Details

  • Date: Friday, May 22, 2015
  • Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Tickets: $55 for members, $75 for non-members (Admission is limited)
  • Premium sake selections will be served with a beer and wine bar
  • Dinner-by-the-bite food pairings
  • Cocktail Attire

About the Brewers

Meet the craftsmen who combine deep-rooted tradition with technology to produce Japan’s leading libation.

Yuichiro Tanaka
Rihaku Shuzo Brewery, Shimane Prefecture
Rihaku Shuzo was founded in 1882 in Matsue City in Shimane Prefecture. Named for the famous Chinese poet, Rihaku has named several of their sakes based on phrases from the great poet’s words. At the helm from 1987 until his death in 2010, Yuichiro’s father used to say “I feel it is part of my life’s work to spread the good word about sake, the culture that goes along with it, and of course Shimane as well.” Today, Yuichiro manages the brewery, and is actively involved in many other sake-related projects, both within Japan and without, and carries on his father’s mission of bringing Japanese sake to the world.

Kiyoaki Doi
Doi Shuzo Brewery, Shizuoka Prefecture
Doi Shuzo began in 1868, and has now been brewing sake for four generations. The brewery is situated in Shizuoka near the ruins of Takatenjin Castle where many a battle was fought.  Although many breweries use water from wells, Doi Shuzo brings water from a spring nearby, close to Kotenjin Castle. It is soft water, which gives the sake a melting, absorbing quality. On top of that, it is so pure it needs no filtering, no additives to chemically adjust it, nor is charcoal filtering of the final sake needed.  Kiyoaki Doi is the fourth-generation leader. Upon taking the reigns from his father, he was told, “You can brew more sake than we do now if you like, or you can brew less. Do whatever you want. But whatever you do, never let the quality of your sake fall.”

Miho Imada
Imada Shuzo Brewery, Hiroshima Prefecture
Imada Shuzo was founded in the first year of the Meiji Restoration, 1868, in Akitsu in Hiroshima Prefecture. Akitsu has the oldest sake-brewing history in Hiroshima, stretching back 400 years, and is still one of the most significant sake-brewing regions in Japan. It is consistently among the top six prefectures nationwide in terms of annual sake production. After realizing her father’s brewery had no successor Miho “saw no other option outside of taking over the family business.” Miho said, “It was then that sake brewing and its relationship to Japanese culture became interesting to me.” 

Yoshiko Sato
Kaetsu Brewery, Niigata Prefecture
Founded in 1880, Kaetsu brewery uses local rice, and water as well as traditional techniques and blind tasting methods. These efforts have won Kaetsu the gold medal in the National New Sake Tasting Contest in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004. The brewery is owned by Dr. Shunichi and Mrs. Yoshiko Sato, and both have been brewing sake for many years. Both of them also come from sake brewing families and have four different brewing families’ blood flowing through their veins.

Tetsuyasu Sato
Takasago Shuzo, Hokkaido Prefecture
Takasago Shuzo was originally established in 1899 in Asahikawa City in Hokkaido, under the name Kohiyama Shuzo (the family name). In 1965, Kohiyama merged with another sake brewer in Asahikawa, and changed the company name, as well as the name of the sake, to Takasago. Each year, after the temperature drops, the brewers build an Ice Dome outside (the only brewery to do this). The igloo keeps the sake being brewed inside very cold, which does not allow bacteria to survive, and allows them to make clean, pure, super premium sake. 

About John Gauntner

John Gauntner is recognized as the world’s leading non-Japanese sake expert. Originally hailing from Ohio, he worked in his original vocation as an electrical engineer in Japan before fate pulled him, although hardly kicking and screaming, into the sake world.

A longtime Japan resident, he both speaks and reads Japanese fluently, and is well known among sake brewers and others within the sake industry as the window to making sake popular outside of Japan. He wrote the Nihonshu Column in the Japan Times (Japan’s most widely read English language newspaper) for eight straight years. He then wrote a weekly column on sake in Japanese for the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s and the world’s most widely distributed Japanese newspaper. He now writes a monthly piece for the Tokyo Metropolis magazine, and has published six books on sake.

Known as “The Sake Guy,” John has been quoted and/or mentioned in sake related articles in countless publications including The New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, Business Week, and Rolling Stone. He has spoken at Harvard, Yale, and Columbia Universities, Wharton School of Business, and countless other venues across the US and Japan.

John is the only non-Japanese certified Master of Sake Tasting in the world, and has also achieved the very difficult Sake Expert Assessor certification from Japan’s National Research Institute of Brewing. No other non-Japanese person in the world has both of these certifications. John also received the Sake Samurai award in 2006, the first year it was awarded. The “Original Sake Educator,” John has educated hundreds of sake professionals through his Sake Professional Courses, including the owner/operators of many of the sake-centric stores in the US, Germany and other locales. John has also spoken at Morikami numerous times, and we are glad to welcome him back once again.

Who benefits from this event?

Your sake experience will help fund an excursion to Japan for over 6,000 children.  Many will visit a Japanese home and meet the Yamato pioneers who grew pineapples in Boca Raton 110 years ago. Simple Japanese greetings will be practiced and shared. They’ll sit in a Japanese classroom and window shop in old Miyazu. While exploring historic Japanese gardens, the children will discover brilliant bonsai trees as old as 400 years.

 Over 500 of these children are from low-income homes. They spend summer not travelling the world, but enrolled in a summer camp provided by one of the area’s crucial social service agencies serving disadvantaged children.  

Your participation will help fund the buses that bring children to the Morikami.  Our staff and volunteers provide the imagination to transport them to Japan.  This year’s goal is to take 7,000 children around the world and bring them back with a heightened awareness of history, an appreciation of another culture, and some awesome vacation memories to write about in class.

Let’s set these children on the road to a lifetime of discovery! 

multi-colored-bottles sake-bottles