Episode-97: Constructing a Sake Ecosystem with Elliot Faber

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Summarizing the work of Elliot Faber is a challenge. Often simply introduced as “Sake Samurai”, a title bestowed in 2016, which added him to the ranks of the select and deserving few to carry the title, ever since he catapulted onto the global sake scene as beverage director spearheading an inspiring sake program at Hong Kong’s now renowned Yardbird in 2011, Elliot has gone on to position and re-position himself in every crack and crevice of the sake industry where he found room for meaningful contribution. In doing so, the Canada born-and-raised workhorse has strategically and masterfully woven an ecosystem for the proliferation and education of exceptional sake throughout one of the world’s most competitive and dynamic sake markets – Hong Kong.

On this week’s episode, Elliot sits down with regular host Justin Potts to talk about the evolution of Hong Kong’s now sake experience mainstay – Sake Central (where he is now interim CEO) – as well as how his other ventures such as Sunday’s Spirits and Kura Collective have proven integral to bringing exceptional Japanese sake, whiskey, shochu (and awamori!) product and relationships to life in Hong Kong and beyond. We touch upon the rapid succession of new projects and evolving initiatives that he helped bring to life amidst the island’s complex relationship living with COVID-19, and how unexpected opportunities led to knew projects in Singapore and a soon-to-be-opened sake dining establishment in Germany.

Last but not least, in 2022 Elliot was finally able to track down and acquire the rights to his 2015 book that first demonstrated to many of the sake-loving public outside of Hong Kong the passion and dedication that had been inspiring his work for years. Sake: The History, Stories and Craft of Japan’s Artisanal Breweries is (finally!) available once again through the serendipitous birth of the currently one-off Tanso Publishing house. Elliot tells us about the challenges with bringing this passion product back to life, as well as plans to further expand the work with extensive travel plans scheduled this summer in Japan.

A difficult man to keep in one place, right now Elliot is doing a “Sake a Day” challenge over on his Instagram, which is a great way to interact with the ever-busy Sake Samurai.

As for us here @sakeonair you we’re easy to keep up with on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com.

We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.
Until then, 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 brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.