The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association is holding the second Sake Future Summit on January 8th and 15th from 8 am to 1 pm Japan Standard Time (on January 7th and 14th from 6 pm to 23 pm Eastern Standard Time).
A recording of the event will be rebroadcast January 8th and 15th from 6 pm to 11 pm Japan Standard Time (on January 8th and 15th from 4 pm to 9 am Eastern Standard Time).
The Sake Future Summit is a recurring streaming event that brings together professionals and enthusiasts from across the sake, shochu, and awamori industries to talk shop and predict the future of these incredible drinks.
As the world comes out of the Covid 19 pandemic and Japan reopens to international visitors, the world of sake and shochu continues to evolve with the creation of new flavors and the implementation of unique brewing and distilling techniques. This year, a wide range of guest speakers from across the globe join together to cover topics like sustainable brewing, revolutionary food pairing techniques, and how the combination of tradition and innovation is changing the face of sake in Japan and around the world.
Sponsored by the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, Sake Future Summit 2022 will be held on January 8th and 15th, 2023, and the live broadcast will be made available for viewing on youtube following the livestream.
The first Sake Future Summit was held on November 21st and 22nd of 2020. The archived live streams can be seen here.
Over 2 days and 8 sessions, we will explore the future of sake, shochu and awamori. Feel free to join for a single session or stick around and expand your knowledge by watching all the sessions.
Justin Potts is a project development specialist who has been empowering Japan’s local food and beverage producers for over a decade. Over the years, Justin has held advisory roles with various Japanese government agencies, served as producer and co-host of the Sake On Air podcast, developed and hosted gastronomic experiences throughout Japan’s countryside and thrived as Chief Entertainment Officer of Potts.K Productions. In 2022, he relocated to the U.S. to serve as Director of Brewing Relations at Origami Sake, set to open early-2023.
Hugo is a certified kikizakeshi and current manager of Sake Central in Hong Kong, a hub for exceptional sake service, education, events, as well as distribution and sales. A Japanese culture enthusiast and sake lover for over a decade, he left the finance industry to dedicate his time and energy to his passion for sake. Hugo was a panel judge for the inaugural Oriental Sake Awards in Hong Kong and served as chairman of the World Sake Day Global Kampai Event Committee. His goal is to introduce Japanese sake to the world by combining traditional Japanese family meals with wonderful sake pairings.
As the Vice President of Sake and Spirits for Vine Connections, Monica oversees sakes & spirits from 19 artisanal producers throughout Japan, managing the sake portfolio across the 50 states of America and nationally throughout Canada. Monica has over 15 years of experience in the sake industry and has been recognized for her efforts in sales and education in Wine Spectator’s “Sake’s True Believers (2013),” Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Tastemakers Under 40 (2014),” as a recipient of the prestigious “Sake Samurai” recognition (2017), and most recently as part of the IWSC and WSET’s “Future 50 Awards (2019).” She is a WSET certified Educator for the Level 3 Award in Sake, has assessed sake for different competitions internationally, and is currently a Panel Chair for the International Wine Challenge sake category.
Born in Italy and a graduate of Politecnico in Milan, Lorenzo lived in Japan for several years working in industrial design at Sony and Samsung design centers in Tokyo. He founded Sake Company in 2014 , Italy's first import and distribution company specializing in sake. In 2016 he opened Sakeya, a sake fine dining restaurant and bottle shop in the heart of Milan. Lorenzo represents the Sake Sommelier Association (SSA) in Italy providing education for aspiring sake sommeliers throughout the country. He has been organizing the Milano Sake Challenge since 2019, scheduled to hold its third iteration in 2023. Lorenzo is currently developing the BtoB-centric Sake Index app to connect, digitize, and empower sake makers and sellers across European territories with the aid of new technology.
Weston Konishi is President of the Sake Brewers Association of North America. His appreciation for sake evolved during his eight years living in Tokyo as a graduate student and researcher. In 2014, he completed the Sake Professional Course with John Gauntner and has subsequently written about sake and the challenges and opportunities for the industry in the United States. He is a member of the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, DC, and the Mansfield Foundation’s U.S.-Japan Network for the Future.
Nina Murphy is an award-winning wine and sake professional who owns and operates Sunflower Sake, a retail store and tasting room, in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust wine diploma program and has experience in sales, education, wine production, and risk management. On a day-to-day basis, Nina operates the Sunflower retail shop, leads sake classes and tastings, creates original educational illustrations, and collaborates with creatives and professionals, continually working to build the reputation of sake in the United States.
Matt Bell currently serves as the CEO and President of Origami Sake and is a certified Level 1 Sake Professional and is leading the financial planning, growth strategy, and marketing plan for the company. Matt is an Arkansas native and successful business entrepreneur. Prior to starting Origami Sake, Matt was a founding partner of Bell-Corley Construction, a commercial general contracting company, Viridian, a green building and energy efficiency consulting company, and Entegrity, a commercial solar development and energy efficiency contractor.
Pablo Rivera is the Founder of WESAKE. Before this role, he spent years doing venture capital at ZX Ventures/AB InBev, rethinking how consumers approach new beverages. He fell in love with sake on treks to Tokyo and nights out in NYC which gave him the idea that promoting sake in America may have more success with a more accessible medium than just simple evangelizing.
Born in Vermont, Christopher Pellegrini came to Japan in 2002 and has been involved with the shochu and awamori industry since early 2003. He founded Honkaku Spirits—a shochu and awamori import company based in New York—in March 2020. Additionally, he published "The Shochu Handbook" in 2014, and also wrote the shochu and awamori sections for the "Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails." He was awarded the Japan Brewing Society's culture prize in 2018 for his efforts in spreading shochu and awamori culture internationally.
Born in Himeji, Hiromi Iuchi lived in New York for 22 years. Beginning in 1997, she worked at a Japanese sake and shochu import company, managing sales in the US and Canada. She returned to Japan in March 2015 and opened Akaboshi & Kumagai, a dining bar specializing in sake and food pairings in Tokyo. She was appointed to the Overseas Operations Division of the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, where she has been in charge of PR for and management of JSS overseas projects for Japanese sake, shochu, and awamori.
Shuso Imada was born in Tokyo in 1960. After graduating from Hitotsubashi University, he worked at Nippon Steel Corporation before beginning his career in liquor distribution in 1989. In 2012, he founded Sansui-sha Co., Ltd., where he provided marketing consultation for sake breweries as well as organized sake-related activities, including seminars and lectures, for brewers and distributors of sake. He took office as the first General Manager of the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in 2016.
After graduating from the Department of Architecture at Waseda University, Natsuko worked at Recruit Co., Ltd. before moving to Italy and obtaining a master's degree in Food Culture and Communication from The University of Gastronomic Sciences. After returning to Japan, she worked for an international NPO, where she worked on several sake-related projects. She then joined the Institute for Future Initiatives, a University of Tokyo research group with the mission of creating a sustainable future. She is a board member of the Japan Research Association for Sakeology.
Konishi Brewing is the oldest family-operated brewery in Japan dating back to 1550. Shinuemon Konishi is the fifteenth generation head of the brewery and began working at Konishi Brewing Company in 1975 after graduating from Konan University. He became President & CEO of the brewery in 1991. Konishi Brewing are the makers of the "Shirayuki" brand sake and are located in the heart of one of Japan's most historically revered sake brewing regions, Itami. Mr. Konishi is also the President of the Itami Sake Brewers Association.
Following an early career in securities and finance, Yuichi Hashiba brought his knowledge to the sake industry when he returned home to take over operations at Izumibashi Shuzo. They are the makers of "Tonbo," "Megumi," and "Izumibashi" brand sake. There, he reimagined agriculture as part of the DNA of the brewing process in a way that would also lead to both a sustainable and financially viable future. Izumibashi Shuzo now manages nearly the entire production process for every product it makes, from the field to the bottle. The brewery is committed to producing only junmai-style sake.
Recognized as one of the world’s leading non-Japanese sake experts and educators, John has lived in Japan since 1988. He is well known in the sake industry as the window to making sake understandable and popular outside of Japan. He has been writing and lecturing about sake since 1994 and has published six books on sake in two languages. In 2014, he co-founded the world’s first and only sake-only magazine, “Sake Today.”
Born in Tokyo, Marico Kojjima worked for 11 years at a western liquor manufacturer before becoming an advisor for the JSS Information Center in April 2022. She is certified as a Tequila Maestro by the Japan Tequila Association and a Rum Concierge by the Japan Rum Association. She authored "Spice Cocktail Recipes You Can Make at Home," which was published in April 2022.
Shuzo Nagumo entered the bar industry in 1998 and has since become one of the top mixologists in Japan who creates new and innovative cocktails using sophisticated techniques and equipment. He has worked at various bars throughout Tokyo and even spent one year abroad working at "Nobu," Metropolitan London. After returning to Japan in August 2007, he went on to found several mixology bars in Tokyo, eventually founding Spirits&Sharing.inc in 2009. He has contributed to numerous books on cocktails, including "The Art of Advanced Cocktail" and "Mixology Cocktail."
Born in Japan, Julia Momosé is the bartender and creative director at Kumiko, the acclaimed dining bar in Chicago. She is the winner of the 2022 Chicago Exceptional Cocktails Award from the Michelin Guide, and her work has garnered international renown, from features in famous magazines to a spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars. Additionally, Momosé developed the cocktails and spirit-free cocktails for Starbucks Reserve® Roastery. Her debut book, The Way of the Cocktail, was named one of the best cookbooks of 2021 by Vanity Fair and Wired. It also won a James Beard Award in 2022 in the "Beverage with Recipes" category.
Hitoshi’s field of expertise is in analytical chemistry, brewing science, and sensory evaluation. He has served as a technical officer for the National Tax Agency and a researcher at National Research Institute of Brewing for more than 30 years. He developed the flavor wheel for sake, currently the standard for international sake education, and has educated numerous technicians specializing in sake production. He also co-authored with Ms. Marie Chiba the acclaimed work “Sake Pairing,” published in 2019.
Born in Iwate Prefecture, Marie Chiba is a sake sommelier, a certified Sake Samurai, and the owner of EUREKA!, a restaurant centered on sake. While working in the food industry, she became fascinated with sake and began visiting sake breweries and stores across Japan. She studied at the National Research Institute of Brewing, becoming known for her "new sake-drinking experience," and focused on sake pairings and collaborations with chefs of various cuisines to explore new styles of sake. She has also authored several books, including "In Love with Japanese Sake" (2018) and "Sake Pairing" (2019).
Choubei Yamamoto was born in Gose, Nara Prefecture, and graduated from Kansai University’s Faculty of Chemistry, Materials and Bioengineering. After graduation, he worked for Hankyu Department Store before joining the family business, Yucho Shuzo Brewery, in 2008. He has served as the brewery’s 13th generation president since 2014.
Born in 1978 in Wakayama Prefecture, he joined Heiwa Shuzo in 2004. His goal is to deliver high-quality sake to people instead of low-priced, mass-produced sake. He created the KID line of sake and the Tsurubai line of umeshu with this goal in mind. As president of the company, He has placed and emphasis on making sake brewing, even in the countryside, a desirable occupation for young people. Mr. Yamamoto is interested in helping young brewers revitalize the sake brewing industry, and is working to raise a new generation that will bring fresh ideas to the table.