Dr. Paul Dohrenwend decided to head back to school for his MBA after years as a physician in San Diego. During his time at Wharton, he started piecing together a sake brand based on his experiences skiing and drinking in Hokkaido.I chatted with him about his love for premium sake, how he connected with food and beverage broker Reina Watanabe, and their combined efforts to launch Safu Sake in the midst of the unrelenting pandemic.
The Isbell Family has been farming in central Arkansas for generations. They gained international attention when they began growing premium Japanese rice, eventually bringing bus loads of visitors to see their farm. I chatted with two generations of the Isbell Family to learn about their history, sustainability practices, current sake and table rice varieties, and their plans for the future.
Emiko Tanabe and James Jin join us from Nova Brewing Co. in Covina, CA. Its hard to believe, but LA only recently got its first sake brewery. New York, Oakland, Seattle, San Diego, even Holbrook, AZ had sake breweries pop up. Nova Brewing Co. owner Emiko Tanabe spotted an opportunity to bring the craft of sake making to the biggest city on the west coast, and partnered up with aspiring brewer James Jin to make it happen.
Peter Kim joins us on behalf of Kizakura USA. Peter shares the unique beer and sake offerings from Kizakura Brewery in Kyoto with retailers across the United States. He joined us to share the history of this unusual dual brewery, along with their line of flavored sake, and the Kyoto and Lucky craft beer series.
Frank Rodgers chats with Billy Melnyk, co-founder, CEO, and visionary behind Soto Sake. They talk about Billy's lifelong love of beverages starting at an early age in Ottawa, Canada. Billy also shares his love for music, travel, fine dining, and what led him to leaving a dream career at Bacardi to launch a global saké brand.
Frank brings back Greg Beck, the accidental sake expert (and shochu advisor) to provide some fun pairings with Paul Nakayama's Nankai Shochu, a few different types of sake, and our first snack offering: Rayu Senbei. How will our chili oil rice cracker pair with Greg's recommendations?
Frank chats with Paul Nakayama, the public face and co-founder of Nankai Shochu. Despite growing up in Los Angeles with a family-owned bar in Torrance, Paul wasn't originally planning to work in the beverage industry.
In this info-packed episode, "accidental" sake expert Greg Beck takes us through the fascinating history and varieties of sake. We'll get into how sake is brewed, the regions of Japan that produce it, and why you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss Nihonshu because of a poor prior experience.