Episode-65: Sohomare Sake With Brewery President Jun Kono

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We’ve been way overdue for an episode highlighting one of Japan’s many inspiring sake breweries. When your hosts Sebastien Lemoine and John Gauntner line up a sit-down with Mr. Jun Kono, who represents five generations of award-winning Sohomare sake, you know you’re in for a treat.

Located in Tochigi prefecture – a bit of a hot-spot in the world of sake these days – Sohomare’s stretch of consecutive gold medals over the past decade at the National Sake Appraisal, along with top honors at the Kanto Regional Appraisals in both the ginjo and junmai ginjo categories in 2020 – a rather unheard of achievement – the brewery’s recognition has more than solidified the accumulated efforts of Mr. Kono and the team at Sohomare throughout his tenure.

In this episode, Mr. Kono shares with us the story of his family’s lineage that was kept a secret for centuries, how intricate blending sensibilities and a return to kimoto-style sake making have grown to define Sohomare, the behavioral quirks of different yeast types, how they’ve managed to acquire yamada nishiki from Hyogo’s most prized growing sites for so long, and how for Mr. Kono, “making sake he wants to drink” takes precedent over everything else.

If you enjoy Sake On Air, you can help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts or on whatever service delivers you all of your podcasting needs. Contact us at questions@sakeonair.staba.jp with any thoughts about this week’s show, and feel free to follow us on  InstagramTwitter, 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.

We’ll be back in two weeks’ time with more Sake On Air.


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.