November 21-22 (Sat & Sun)
All weekend long
(Japan local time)

Lessons from the Past
Questions for the Present
Exploration of the Future

Tune in here:

Sake Future Summit 2020: Day 1

Sake Future Summit 2020: Day 2

Sake Future Summit 2020 is a chance to bring the global dialogue about sake and shochu together in one place for one inspiring weekend celebrating these incredible drinks.

The beverages’ hyper-local connection to their region’s traditions, agriculture, livelihood of the people and local resources are second to none. At the same time, these still relatively small industries are poised to explode across an increasingly curious global food and beverage market in a way that is set to transform the ways in which the world accesses and enjoys both sake and shochu. 

Join us as the world’s industry leaders, creative thinkers and adventurous spirits explore how sake and shochu have, and will continue, to reshape our relationships with food, beverage, nature, agriculture, health, local and global economies, and possibly even one another.


(Subject to change)

Title: The Pillars of Shochu Behind the Bar
Date: Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 11:00-11:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan
Summary: Sake On Air pays a visit to the SG Club, the Tokyo showcase for world-renowned bartender, Shingo Gokan. It’s here that Shingo and SG Shochu brand manager Joshin Atone will introduce us to the pillars of shochu and how they can (and will) transform the future of cocktail expressions on both sides of the bar.
Speakers: Shingo Gokan (Founder of SG Group), Joshin Atone (Brand Manager for SG Shochu)
Facilitator: Christopher Pellegrini (Sake On Air)

Title: Local Creations and Creative Business
Saturday, Nov 21st
Time: 12:00-12:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Nagaoka)
Summary: Throughout Japan local food and beverage is largely undervalued, placing the future of many traditional industries in question. Sake is no exception. For this session, we travel to the city of Nagaoka in central Niigata to meet with three individuals reimagining the relationship to local food and beverage and what that means for the future of local agriculture and sake. 
Speakers: Atsushi Kabasawa (President of FARM8), Sho Shuzuki (Owner & Chef of SUZU GROUP), Masayuki Yokomoto (Director of Sales & Marketing at Yoshinogawa Co., Ltd.)
Facilitator: Justin Potts (Sake On Air)

Title: Recipe for the Future of Sake
Saturday, Nov 21
Time: 13:00-13:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Hyogo & Mie)
Summary: The profile of sake has for centuries been largely influenced by politics, taxes, technological limitations and general turmoil. Not until the past several decades have producers truly had the freedom and resources at their disposal to explore what’s possible in the world of sake making. As a result, new product development and experimentation have flourished in recent years. However in a deeply traditional industry in the midst of a period of rapid innovation, what’s worth holding onto, and how far can you stretch the boundaries of authenticity? For this session, we’ve brought together a pair of the most respected producers in Japan that have adopted polar opposite approaches. Bringing together an unwavering style rooted in more than 500 years of tradition, alongside a label attributed to helping transform the modern standard for premium sake, we ask the question: Is the future profile of sake that awaits us still on its way, or have we had it all along? 
Speakers: Tadayoshi Onishi (President & Toji at Kiyasho Shuzo), Masataka Shirakashi (President of Kenbishi Sake Brewery)
Facilitator: Hitoshi Utsunomiya (Director of Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association)

Title: Shochu’s Sense of Place
Date: Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 14:00-14:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan
Summary: The relationship with the land is a common conversation with sake, however it’s also an equally important quality of honkaku shochu. Having 4 regions officially dedicated with geographical indications since 1995, honkaku shochu clearly has a home. For this session, we’re joined by a pair of distilleries who’s practice and product exemplify the local nature of their respective styles, both Iki Mugi (barley) Shochu, as well as Kuma Rice Shochu.
Speakers: Yuzo Yokoyama (President/Toji at Omoya Shuzo), Shiro Toyonaga (President at Toyonaga Shuzo)
Facilitator: Christopher Pellegrini (Sake On Air)

Title: Aged Sake and the Test of Time
Saturday, Nov. 21st
Time: 15:00-15:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Ibaraki, Chiba, Tokyo)
Summary: Given the opportunity under the proper conditions, certain styles of sake develop in incredible ways beyond imagination over months, years, or even decades. Historically prized, however largely lost on the local Japanese market in recent times, this still largely undefined and underappreciated category of sake, referred to as “koshu” or “jyukuseishu”, is rapidly winning over the palates of fine wine and spirits connoisseurs, resulting in increased demand from acclaimed restaurants and beverage programs across the globe. There are only a small handful of producers and service specialists that have committed to this remarkable category over the long term. We’ve invited them here to share with us why the future of sake actually rest firmly in the past.  
Speakers: Nobuhiro Ueno (Owner at Shu Saron Aged Sake Bar; Founder of Toki Sake Association), Kenichi Shimazaki (CEO at Shimazaki Sake Brewery), Hayato Shoji (President & Toji at Kidoizumi Sake Brewery) 
Facilitator: Shuso Imada (General Manager of the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center)

Title: Barley Shochu vs Japanese Whisky
Date: Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 16:00-16:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan
Summary: Japanese whiskey has taken the world by storm. Japan has been making incredible barley shochu for generations. What’s keeping this unique (and delicious) Japanese spirit from the big-time? How are vague whiskey definitions impacting the shochu market, and vice-versa? What should you look for when delving into both of these categories? The future of both of these fine beverages likely hinge upon one another. This session will shed light on the potential and challenges these industries face, along with even more reason to get excited about Japanese spirits.
Speakers: Brian Ashcraft (Author & Journalist), Yoshitsugu Komasa (President of Komasa Jyozo), Maya Aley (Shochu Expert)
Facilitator: Christopher Pellegrini (Sake On Air)

Title: What it Means to Make Sake
Saturday, Nov. 21st
Time: 17:00-17:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Tokyo)
Summary: In his 24 years as toji (master brewer) at Hiroshima’s Taketsuru Shuzo, Tatsuya Ishikawa has fully committed to the values waxed throughout the rhetoric adopted by the industry, and in the process, honed a craft in-line with those values, resulting in a style of brewing and character often considered sake at odds with the standards adopted by the industry at-large. In the process, however, he has established himself as one of the industry’s most venerated toji at work today, holding top positions in both the Hiroshima Toji Guild and Japan National Toji Guild. For this session, Ishikawa-san shares a bit of his background story, followed by an outline of the discoveries, practices and philosophies he’s come to adopt which are now prompting the entire industry to ask themselves the question: What is sake?
Speakers: Tatsuya Ishikawa (Toji at Tsukinoi Shuzo; Vice-president of Japan National Toji Guild, Head of Hiroshima Toji Guild)
Facilitator: Shuso Imada (General Manager of the Sake & Shochu Information Center)

Title: Positioning Sake at the Top 
Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 18:00-18:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: France
Summary: The sake industry has been fighting to integrate the category into the upper echelons of the wine world for decades. In recent years, a number of high-profile sommeliers and wine specialists have taken note of those efforts, as well as been swooned by the potential for the beverage through their own diligence and discovery. In this session, we examine the realities of integrating sake into high-end wine and beverage programs, the challenges being faced, and the potential to carve out a position all its own. 
Speaker: Xavier Thuizat (President of Kura Master; Chef Sommelier of Hotel Crillon), Marco Pelletier (Vigneron at Domaine de Galouchey; Proprietor of Vantre, Paris)
Facilitator: Sebastien Lemoine (Sake On Air)

Title: Sake in Spain: Developing Sake Culture in an Old World Wine Country
Date: Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 19:00-19:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Spain
Summary: Spain may be poised to serve as an example for how sake can find a home in long-established wine producing countries. How do clients in Spain react when they’re served sake for the first time? What sake styles are best suited the Spanish market and how do you go about promoting and selling sake in a country with a dominant wine culture? In this session, we will have the unique opportunity to discuss sake’s potential, in both a fine dining and traditional context, with a sommelier and food pairing expert and author who are at the forefront of the Spanish culinary scene and beyond. We will also discuss how sake can appeal to even the most reluctant clients and ways to make it more accessible without ruining its soul.
Speakers: Pablo Alomar Salvioni (President of Salvioni & Alomar), Francois Chartier (Aroma Specialist; Master Blender for Tanaka 1789 X Chartier), Rubén Pol Ramon (Head Sommelier at Restaurant Disfrutar, Barcelona)
Facilitator: Rebekah Wilson-Lye (Sake On Air) 

Title: Bringing the UK Sake Market to the Next Level
Date: Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 20:00-20:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: U.K.
Summary: The UK has long been at the forefront of Japanese sake imports in Europe; it is in fact the market leader. Interestingly enough, however, the volume of sake coming into the country has only increased 17% in the last decade, compared with much higher percentage increases in other European countries (Germany: 80%, France: 200%). Why is this and what can be done to expand the market in the future? For this panel we’ll be welcoming a team of sake industry specialists dialed in to various corners of the market to guide us toward a bright sake-filled future for this all-important territory. 
Speakers: Barry McCaughley (Restaurateur; F&B Development Consultant), Miho Komatsu (Sake Specialist for Marussia Beverage; Marketing and International Sales for Akashi-tai Sake Brewery), Akiko Konishi (Manager of Intl. Dept. at Konishi Shuzo)
Facilitator: Oliver Hilton-Johnson (Director of Tengu Sake)

Title: Taste of Japan: Sake & Gourmet Travel
Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 21:00-21:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Italy, Japan
Summary: A lighthearted, exploratory session introducing the myriad of ways to enjoy Japan and its culture through sake, urban & rural explorations of gastronomy, and various artisanal works and craftsmanship. We’ll explore possibilities for engaging with Japan’s iconic beverage, unique experiences to be had across the archipelago, and how crafts and craftsmanship add to an already rich and rewarding journey. 
Speaker: Marco Massarotto (Founder of Nippon Concierge; Cultural Ambassador for Kyoto City), Etsuko Nakamura (Founder of Sake Tours), Carlo Sabbatucci (Designer at HANDS ON DESIGN)
Justin Potts (Sake On Air)

Title: Tradition, Innovation and Resilience 
Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 22:00-22:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Kyoto)
Summary: The Japanese sake market has been in decline domestically for decades. The category’s most loyal consumers are over largely elderly, representing different tastes and values than that of the younger generation electing to pursue other beverage categories, or in many cases, forego alcohol consumption altogether. However this is far from the first significant transition the industry has faced, and having been an industry leader and pioneer since 1637, Gekkeikan has persevered for nearly 400 years, shaping Japan’s relationship with sake and driving innovation not just for the company, but for the entire industry. In this session, world-renowned sake educator and evangelist John Gauntner sits down with Taiji Okura, next in line for the throne at a brewery that has been instrumental in shaping the industry for centuries, to discuss lessons from history and how Gekkeikan is approaching and adapting to the challenges facing a sake industry in flux. 
Speaker: Taiji Okura (Director & General Manager – Gekkeikan Sake Co., Ltd.)
Facilitator: John Gauntner (Founder of Sake World; Sake Evangelist; Sake On Air)

Title: Spirit of Shochu in Future Bars
Date: Saturday, Nov. 21
Time: 23:00-23:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: London, NY
Summary: Joined by innovators and pioneers of the bar and mixology scene, we’ll look at how honkaku shochu stands out in a rapidly evolving and expanding spirits market, how the category is poised to define itself in bars across the globe, where it can potentially ride trends, and where it can (and should) break them. As the bar landscape has changed drastically in recent months, we’ll glean insight from the industry’s leading innovators, while examining how a relatively undefined category like shochu can carve out an identity for itself in the world ahead.
Speakers: Don Lee (Industry mentor; former partner Existing Conditions), Ryan Chetiyawardana (Founder of Mr. Lyan; Cocktail bartender), Chikako Ichihara (CEO of Azix; Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association US Liaison officer)
Facilitator: Christopher Pellegrini (Sake On Air)

Title: Getting Warmer – The France Kanzake Tour
Sunday, Nov. 22nd
Time: 12:00 midnight – 12:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Tokyo)
Summary: Kanzake, often referred to as “hot” or “warm” sake, has turned into arguably the most misunderstood standard of international sake service. Brushed off as a chicanery to push low-end product in some circles, while revered as the truest expression of quality and authentic product in others, the industry has been sending mixed messages for decades. Whatever your past experience, or whatever camp you were raised in, the kanzake resurgence is very real. For this session, several of the kanban (warm sake service specialists) instrumental in that resurgence share with us why they’ve dropped everything for one week every year since 2016 in order to tour their selection of sake and accompanying service standard across France, sharing their discoveries and reaffirmations along the way.
Speakers: Kanako Teshigawara (Director of CREMA; Food designer), Takuya Ogura (Owner of Hoteru and Kaikan), Kenichi Takaya (Owner/chef at Nihonshu-ya)
Facilitator: Justin Potts (Sake On Air)

Title: Growing Sake: The Agriculture & Brewing Relationship
Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 1:00-1:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Kanagawa, Niigata)
Summary: The fact that sake is crafted from Japan’s most valued staple – rice – has never been lost on the local population. This single factor has largely dictated the development of the industry and beverage as we know it today. For this session, two leading breweries reimagining the relationship between local agriculture and the brewing process, Izumibashi (in Kanagawa) and Watanabe Shuzo (in Niigata), join us to share the philosophies, challenges and achievements in pioneering a new path forward for the next generation of brewers and farmers.
Speakers: Yoshiki Watanabe (President of Watanabe Shuzo), Yuichi Hashiba (President of Izumibashi Shuzo)
Facilitator: Shuso Imada (General Manager of the Sake & Shochu Information Center)

Title: Lessons from Adversity
Saturday, Nov. 22
Time: 2:00-2:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Fukushima, Yamagata, Kumamoto)
Summary: The geographical nature of the small island nation of Japan has natural disaster programmed into its DNA. Earthquakes rattle it regularly, typhoons sweep through incessantly, and flooding rivers and tributaries are a constant concern. It’s a small miracle that traditional businesses, such as sake and shochu makers, have managed to persist for decades, and in many cases centuries despite the constant challenges to their crops, homes and livelihoods. For this session we’re joined by two producers, one which is about to return home on the 10th anniversary of the disasters of March 2011, the other still reeling from this summer’s massive floods that devastated the Kyushu region. What can these experiences teach us about resilience, and what it means to be deeply rooted in a place that has defined your craft and livelihood for generations?
Speakers: Daisuke Suzuki (President at Suzuki Shoten), Junko Tsutsumi (President at Sengetsu Shuzo)
Facilitator: Shuso Imada (General Manager of the Sake & Shochu Information Center)

Title: The Wood Renaissance 
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22nd
Time: 3:00-3:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Hyogo, Kagoshima, Fukushima)
Summary: Just as the world’s producers are reexamining the ways in which traditional tools and methods could once again play a role in influencing a better, more authentic product, sake and shochu are exploring those same possibilities. The sake industry expanding rapidly with the ability to craft wooden casks and barrels for shipping and storage, and producers are once again examining how to reinstate, not just a disappearing tool of the trade, but an almost entirely lost craft. At the same time, many producers are also integrating wood sources never before employed in the production or storage of sake or shochu. This session examines what’s been lost, what’s worth being preserved, and how that could shape, not only the future profiles of sake and shochu, but also Japan’s food culture itself.
Speakers: Toshinari Takahashi (Production Manager at Kikumasamune Sake Brewing Co., Ltd), Yasuhiko Niida (President & Toji of Niida Honke), Tomohiro Iwaizako (Cooper at Satsuma Shuzo Co., Ltd.)
Facilitator: Justin Potts (Sake On Air)

Title: Sustainability, Sake, Shochu
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22nd
Time: 7:00-7:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Miyazaki, Hyogo)
Summary: While there are a lot of arguably sustainable practices that have been grandfathered in to the current generation sake and shochu making from past generations, sustainability as a concept, and what that looks like in concrete terms across these industries is a rather recent conversation. From agriculture to energy, resource management to work-life balance, in this session we gather insight into current standards, explore areas for potential improvement, and try to feel out how sake and shochu makers could develop  into a strong position to lead by example.
Speakers: Shinsaku Kuroki (President at Kuroki Honten & Osuzuyama Distillery), Takenosuke Yasufuku (President of Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Breweries Ltd.)
Facilitator: Sayuri Daimon (Journalist; Former managing editor for The Japan Times)

Title: The Sake & Food Relationship
Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 8:00-8:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: U.S. (Seattle, LA, Phoenix)
Summary: Japanese food culture has come a long way in the U.S., from a time not so long ago when raw fish on the menu was unheard of, to today where sushi restaurants permeate every crevice of the country and pre-packed Japanese-inspired options line supermarket cold cases. Up until this point, sake has largely ridden the wave of Japanese cuisine, but is now gradually beginning to break free of its preconceived trappings, demonstrating how it can thrive in all kinds of culinary settings, transforming the dining and drinking experience along the way. For this session, together with a lineup of innovative chefs we’ll explore just how far sake and shochu have room to grow, the balance between tradition and innovation, and how current market trends could signal a bright future for sake and shochu. 
Speakers: Mutsuko Soma (Chef at Kamonegi; Owner of Hannyatou), Nobuo Fukuda (Chef at Teeter House), David Schlosser (Chef at Shibumi), Christopher Gomez (Beverage Director at Shibumi)
Facilitator: Sachiko Miyagi (Sake Expert at Tippsy Inc.) 

Title: Awamori: Japan’s Original Indigenous Spirit
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22nd
Time: 9:00-9:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Okinawa)
Summary: Historically its own nation and culture, the collection of Okinawan islands far south off the coast of Japan represent the nation’s earliest distilling techniques and the progenitor of shochu as we know it today. The geographically indicated and protected craft of making awamori is a concentration of culture, tradition and passion that is unrivaled and entirely unique to the islands of Okinawa. For this session we’ll visit one of the islands’ leading producers, examining how they’re investing in both the traditions and future expansion of this prized beverage.
Speakers: Tsutomu Oshiro (CEO of Chuko Awamori Distillery) 
Facilitator: Justin Potts (Sake On Air)

Title: Redefining Koji for the Future
Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 10:00-10:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: U.S. (Cleveland), Japan (Osaka)
Summary: It’s no stretch to say that Japan’s relationship with koji has defined its cuisine. Absolutely essential for sake, and the powerful factor and uniquely local element that differentiates shochu from a world of spirits crafted from similar ingredients, Japan’s ability to harness the power and evolve with koji over centuries is nothing less than a small miracle. But now, as the world is opening its eyes to the possibilities of this incredible fungus, methods of kitchens and breweries across the globe are beginning to transform. What does a world comfortable exploring uncharted culinary and brewing territories with koji look like? That’s what we’re here to discuss.
Speakers: Jeremy Umansky (Chef/owner of Larder Delicatessen and Bakery; Author),  Koichi Higuchi (Director of Higuchi Matsunosuke Shoten Co., Ltd.)
Facilitator: Justin Potts (Sake On Air)

Title: Traditional Sake Brewing Under Non-traditional Management
Sunday, Nov 22
Time: 11:00-11:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Osaka)
Summary: Yasutaka Daimon and Marcus Consolini of Daimon Shuzo in Osaka talk about their experiences together of running a sake brewery under historically unprecedented circumstances of ownership.  In addition, they will discuss re-launching a traditional brand, their perspective on product differentiation and their efforts to provide an English-speaking sake production education experience to burgeoning sake brewers from around the world.
Speakers: Marcus Consolini, Yasutaka Daimon
Facilitator: John Gauntner (Founder of Sake World; Sake Evangelist; Sake On Air)

Title: The Role of a Sake Brewery in the Local Community
Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 12:00-12:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Nagano, Niigata ,Chiba)
Summary: Historically, sake breweries have been a central pillar of the local community and industry. As younger populations abandon both the countryside and sake in favor of the ever-changing array of products and opportunities flush throughout Tokyo, in many regions, sake breweries are one of only very few operations that still remain which are inherently tied to the region in which they were born. As Japan struggles to rediscover arguably the nation’s greatest assets scattered across the less-traveled corners of the country, it may prove to be sakagura (sake breweries) that are in the best position to facilitate a new vision for rural Japan. For this session, we have three very different producers of different philosophy, crafting different styles, in very different regions. While all different, taken as a whole, the future of rural Japan appears rather bright.  
Speakers: Rumiko Obata (5th Generation at Obata Sake Brewery), Katsuhiko Miyasaka (Directors Office at Miyasaka Brewing Company), Masaru Terada (24th Generation & Toji at Terada Honke)
Facilitator: Justin Potts (Sake On Air)

Title: The Craft of Sweet Potato Shochu
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 13:00-13:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Japan (Kagoshima)
Summary: Guided by the industry’s leading shochu experts, take a tour through Yamato Zakura, the smallest sweet potato shochu distillery in Kagoshima that still crafts everything by hand, every step of the way. See where the koji is born, the large clay pots where the fermentation is nurtured, and take a journey of the process of crafting one of Japan’s most popular and iconic national spirits.
Speakers: Stephen Lyman, Tekkan Wakamatsu (Master Brewer-Distiller at Yamato Zakura Shuzo), Maya Aley (Shochu Expert)
Facilitator: Christopher Pellegrini (Sake On Air)

Title: Sake Over Wine – The Taiwanese Cuisine Experiment
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 14:00-14:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Taiwan
Summary: An expansive future for sake unquestionably lies in its ability to permeate international markets alongside local cuisine. But with so many high-quality go-to drink options available, the question remains: Why select sake? While everyone has their preference, there appears to be only one clearly definitive answer: When it just tastes better. For this session, we’re joined by two ambitious individuals that set out to prove, not just that sake is a good choice, but the unquestionably better choice over an equally viable wine option when accompanying a tremendously vast selection of Taiwanese cuisine. How did sake fare, and what styles came out top? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Speakers: Wolfgang Angyal (President & CEO of Riedel Japan Co. Ltd.), Michael Ou (Owner/chef of Hanabi Izakaya; President of Ho-Wei Sake Imports in Taiwan)
Facilitator: Sebastien Lemoine (Sake On Air)

Title: Brewing Communication in the New World
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 15:00-15:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: New Zealand, Japan
Summary: Many New World wine regions also have a very vibrant craft beer scene, leading to a pair of high-quality beverage categories adopting all sorts of marketing and product innovations side-by-side, resulting in new entries into the market capturing legions of local and international followers. Sake, on the other hand, can generally be characterized as having a bit of a communication problem, one of many factors contributing to all kinds of misinterpretations as the the nature of the product, how it’s valued, and opportunities for enjoyment. For this session, we’ll explore what sake might be able to glean from the communication, marketing and product innovations that have built inspiring industries rooted in tradition, and how thoughtful approaches to communication for sake could help it to penetrate these dynamic markets that have made craft beer and New World wine so successful. 
Speakers: Wayne Manu Shennen (Owner of Rangitoto Tokyo Craft Sake and New Zealand Wine Bar), Andrew Childs (Founder & Brewmaster of Behemoth Brewing Company)
Facilitator: Justin Potts (Sake On Air)

Title: Rise of Sake in the Lion City
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 16:00-16:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Singapore 
Summary: Singapore has become one of the most in-demand markets for sake and shochu makers looking to make waves outside of Japan. It’s seen as a market with the potential to embrace the categories and all they have to offer, while valuing the product accordingly. Whether in the cellar, on the table or behind the bar, the approaches to getting sake into the hands of the people is multifaceted, with education at all levels playing a critical role. This is an inside look into one of the world’s currently most dynamic sake markets. 
Speakers: Sean Ou (DipWSET; Co-founder of Beverage Clique), Neil Simon Claudio (Sommelier at Burnt Ends), Eugene Wong (Director of Mr. Otaru)
Facilitator: Rebekah Wilson-Lye (Sake On Air) 

Title: ENTER.Sake and Beyond
Date: Sunday, Nov. 22
Time: 17:00-17:50 (Japan local time)
Host Region: Germany
Summary: For the final session of Sake Future Summit 2020 the team joins luminary musician and DJ Richie Hawtin at his newly opened Sake 36, a retail and tasting space, in Berlin. A passionate fan and advocate for sake for over 20 years, Richie has used his platform and deep knowledge of the category to bring ENTER.Sake to life, connecting new generations to sake through his art and performances across the globe. We’ll check in with Richie to get an update on ENTER.Sake and his work as an artist, as well as what it’s been like bringing Sake 36 to life in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Join us as we look ahead to the future with an innovator in the midst of crafting his next vision for the fusion art, culture and sake.
Speaker: Richie Hawtin (Musician, ENTER.Sake, Sake 36)
Facilitators: Rebekah Wilson-Lye, John Gauntner


Maya Aley – Shochu Expert
Maya is one of the most decorated non-Japanese shochu experts in the world, simultaneously holding Shochu Meister, Shochu Kikisakeshi, and Shochu Advisor certifications. Fluent in Japanese as well as her native English, she has lived and worked in Kagoshima City since 2011.

Wolfgang Angyal – President & CEO of Riedel Japan Co. Ltd.
Prior to joining Riedel in 1989, he held one-year guest professorship at Tsuji’s Culinary Academy in Osaka and since then established the Riedel group’s businesses in Japan, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Southern Hemisphere. His passion for all things Epicurean, Japanese drinking & food culture made him instrumental in the development of Riedel’s varietal specific Sake glasses for Daiginjo and now for Junmai, important milestones of Riedel’s mission to “elevate Sake to the level of wine at the table” and to advance the appreciation of sake in Japan and around the world. 


Brian Ashcraft – Author and Journalist
Brian is the author of several books, including the award-winning Japanese Whisky (Tuttle, 2018) and The Japanese Sake Bible (Tuttle, 2020). He is also a senior contributing editor for the video game site Kotaku and a columnist for The Japan Times. Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has lived in Osaka, Japan since 2001.
The Japanese Sake Bible
Japanese Whisky

Joshin Atone – Brand Manager for SG Shochu
Born and raised in California, Joshin started working at Sakamai in NYC, and mixed drinks at Angelʼs Share from 2015-2017. Joshin was in Shanghai for a year helping to establish Sober Company before moving to Tokyo in 2018 to help start SG Club in Shibuya. He is currently the brand manager for the SG SHOCHU line which debuted early 2020.

François Chartier (Aroma Specialist; Master Blender for Tanaka 1789 X Chartier sake project, Miyagi)
François Chartier, the global reference and creator of molecular aromatic science, author of various books on food pairing, advisor to the world’s top chefs, and 1994 Best Sommelier in the World. Since 2017, has been the “Master Blender” of the project Tanaka 1789 X Chartier, at Tanaka Shuzo in Japan.
Tanaka 1789 X Chartier

Ryan Chetiyawardana – Owner/Founder Mr. Lyan
Ever since opening White Lyan in 2013, when Ryan Chetiyawardana (more commonly referred to as, Mr. Lyan), showed the world what a future of bars entirely free of perishables looked like, his emphasis on sustainability, while maintaining high quality and pushing innovation, became the industry benchmark. Expanding his work across White Lyan in Super Lyan, Dandelyan, Cub, Lyaness and Silver Lyan, Ryan himself, his bars and his teams have been awarded Worlds Best Bar Menu (2016), Best Bar Team and Best Bar in the World (2017), and World’s Best Bar (2018).  

Andrew Childs – Founder and Managing Director of Behemoth Brewing Company
Andrew Childs founded Behemoth Brewing in 2013 after being a lawyer for several years. He became obsessed with homebrewing, and after a few years he quite the legal profession to start Behemoth Brewing Company, contract brewing at many top breweries around New Zealand while preparing their recently-opened state of the art brewery and brew pub in Mt Eden, Auckland. Behemoth has created over 250 unique beers on top of a core range of 10 beers. They are about to start a new equity raise to expand the brewery past 1m litres per year and build more bars around New Zealand. Over the last year they have won every IPA award in New Zealand and mas a passion for Beer innovation and design. Andrew is dedicated to making all their beers both delicious and fun. 

Neil Simon Claudio – Sommelier
Born in the Philippines and further raised in Hong Kong, Neil is one of those individuals who call both countries his home. In Hong Kong, he has worked for the American Club, Black Sheep Restaurants, Maximal Concepts, The Flying Elk and Frantzen’s Kitchen. He is the current sommelier for Michelin-starred Burnt Ends in Singapore. He holds an advanced diploma in business, certified sake sommelier, WSET2, Whisky Ambassador. He was also awarded as the 2020 Sommelier of the Year from WGS in Singapore.

Marcus Consolini – CEO at Daimon Shuzo 
Born in New York City to an Italian immigrant family in the craft food space, Marcus pursued an Asian-based career in the world of finance while investing in and advising craft oriented businesses on the side.  After a serendipitous meeting with Daimon-san, Marcus decided to partner with Yasutaka and raise the capital to re-launch the brewery into the modern marketplace – resulting in Marcus becoming the first foreign President/CEO of a Japanese craft sake brewery. 

Sayuri Daimon – Journalist; former executive operating officer and managing editor of The Japan Times
Upon graduating from Sophia University, Sayuri Daimon joined The Japan Times in 1991. Since then, she has covered various fields as a staff writer, ranging from politics to business. She became Domestic News Division Manager in 2006 and Managing Editor and executive operating officer in 2013. She is the first woman to take the top editorial position in the newspaper’s history. She became an independent journalist in September 2020. In 2000, Daimon won the Nieman fellowship at Harvard University, and studied journalism and American politics. In 2005, she stayed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, researching “Women in Saudi Arabia” as a fellow at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. In 2016, she received the “Japan Women Award (Leadership & Innovation)” from Forbes Japan and is the author of multiple publications on the subjects of diplomacy, female empowerment, and more.

Yasutaka Daimon – 6th Generation of Daimon Shuzo
Yasutaka Daimon was born the first son of the Daimon Family in 1948 and the 6th generation kuramoto. With the exception of 7 years travelling through Europe and India, Daimon-san’s life has been dedicated to the world of sake. First as a business builder, then as the brewery’s managing director and master brewer, and now a pioneer of the international craft sake movement and  crusader in the education of sake production. 

Nobuo Fukuda – Chef at Teeter House
Born and raised in Tokyo, Nobuo Fukuda has worked as a chef in Arizona for over 30year, evolving from a wide-eyed 20-year-old at Benihana to the self-assured iconoclast who honors Japanese traditions as he breaks them. He first gained recognition for his East-meets-West approach at Restaurant Hapa, where he partnered with chef-owner James McDevitt, whose delicious take on Asian fusion inspired Nobuo to conduct similar experiments with sushi. In 2020, when Nobuo opened Sea Saw – the Japanese tapas bar that would earn him a James Beard Award in 2007 – he was instantly pushed into the spotlight, winning accolades from every local publication, as well  as “Chef to Watch” nod from John Mariani of Esquire and a spot on the “Best New Chefs of 2003” list from Food & Wine. At Teeter House, Nobuo comes full circle, elevating (and sometimes re-inventing) Japanese cuisine, while offering the wildly inventive omakase for which he’s famous. 
Kakehashi: A Portrait of Chef Nobuo Fukuda (documentary)

Shingo Gokan – Founder of SG Group
Founder of SG Group and one of the most decorated and sought-after young bartenders in the world, Shingo Gokan won the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail competition in 2012, was named Tales of the Cocktail’s 2017 “International Bartender of the Year,” and crowned “Altos Bartender’s Bartender” in 2019.

Christopher Gomez – Beverage Director at Shibumi
With almost a decade of experience in hospitality, Christopher has honed his diverse set of skills at industry favorites The NoMad NY, Ace Hotel DTLA, and Honeycut LA. Christopher has been at Michelin-starred Shibumi for the past 4 years where he is currently the Beverage Director. His passion has led him to earning multiple beverage and hospitality certifications, mostly notably SSI Kikisakeshi.

Yuichi Hashiba – President of Izumibashi Shuzo
Following an early career in securities and finance, he brought his knowledge to the fields when he returned home to take over operations at Izumibashi Shuzo, where 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, from the field to the bottle. The brewery is committed to producing only junmai-style sake.

Richie Hawtin – Musician / ENTER.Sake / SAKE 36
Richie is a world-renowned musician and DJ. Playing to crowds of thousands of fans, Richie has been a music icon since the late-1980s and still continues to push the frontiers of music, art, and technology today. Richie has also been a devoted sake connoisseur for over twenty years since he first traveled to Japan in 1994. He has earned the Advanced Sake Professional Certification and was made an official Sake Samurai by the Japanese Sake Brewers Association in 2014 for his efforts in promoting sake abroad. He continues to use his influence to open up young audiences to new cultural experiences through his performances and ENTER. shows worldwide. In 2020 he opened SAKE 36, a Berlin-based sake importer and distributor, running a Store and Tasting Room in Berlin Kreuzberg, founded together with partners Maximilian Fritzsch and Laura Käding.
Richie Hawtin

Koichi Higuchi – Director of Higuchi Matsunosuke Shoten Co., Ltd.
Born and raised in Osaka, Koichi Higuchi is the Director of Higuchi Matsunosuke Shoten Co., Ltd., which is one of only a handful of companies tasked with the responsibility of preserving, manufacturing and supplying koji starter and other cultures to Japan’s brewing industry. Following a degree in biology, with a focus on genome function, he spent two years at a brewing facility manufacturer prior to returning to the family business in 2015 to take over as director of operations. He currently manages international sales and business development and is proactive in the exploration of the potential faculties for koji throughout the global food and beverage market.

Oliver Hilton-Johnson – Director of Tengu Sake
Oliver is a Sake Specialist and Director of Tengu Sake, a sake imports, wholesale & retail company. Tengu Sake supplies quality Japanese sake and spirits to some of the UK’s finest restaurants and bars and is the recipient of the International Wine Challenge’s ‘Sake Merchant of the Year’ award 2016 – 2019. In November 2019 Oliver was named as one of the ‘Future 50’ drinks industry professionals to watch. He is a Senior Judge for the IWC Sake Competition.

Chikako Ichihara – CEO Azix; Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association US Liaison officer
Chikako Ichihara, an innovative thought-leader and experienced food and beverage marketer, has been producing content and events centered around Japanese food and culture for over seventeen years. She has organized promotions at the Japanese Pavilion in New York City’s International Restaurant & Foodservice Show, created and established the largest Japanese food and culture event in the US, “Japan Week”, and planned “An Evening of Kaiseki & Umami” – an event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to promote Japanese food culture in commemoration of the centennial anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry blossom trees to the United States. Recognized for her extensive and customized work, Ichihara is a recipient of both gold & silver Summit Creative awards. 

Tatsuya Ishikawa – Head of Hiroshima Toji Guild, Vice President of Japan National Toji Guild, Toji at Tsukinoi Shuzo
Born in the town of Saijo in Hiroshima – often considered the “capital” of the sake-brewing nation – Tatsuya began his career in sake while studying at Waseda University where he encountered sake from Shinkame Shuzo, prompting him to seek employment at the brewery. After 4 years at Shinkame Shuzo he returned to Hiroshima where he found a position brewing at Taketsuru Shuzo in 1994. He took over as toji (master brewer) in 1996 and held that position until 2019. During his tenure his craft, approach, and philosophy to brewing evolved to adopt a practice incorporating concepts of “full fermentation” and embracing “serendipitous brewing”, running counter to industry trends while garnering national respect for both his craft and product from both consumers and the wider brewing community, making him one of the most venerated active toji in Japan. He currently serves as the head of the Hiroshima Toji Guild and Vice President of the Japan National Toji Guild. He will be acting as toji at Tsukinoi Shuzoten in Ibaraki beginning from the 2020 brewing season.

Tomohiro Iwaizako – Cooper at Satsuma Shuzo Co., Ltd.
Meeting the individual that he would eventually apprentice under as a cooper, Tomohiro was immediately moved by the nature of his craft and work ethic, inspiring him to begin his apprenticeship and start the journey down his path as woodworker. He ended up joining nationally recognized shochu producer Satsuma Shuzo Co., Ltd. immediately upon graduating high school. He now serves as the cooper at the only dedicated in-house barrel repair and woodworking facility at a shochu producer in Japan. He proactively studies an array of woodworking crafts and has in recent years been actively studying the craft of traditional Japanese taru and oke making. He crafted the koshiki (steamer) for the distillery himself.   

Atsushi Kabasawa – President of FARM8
Business creation specialist based in Nagaoka focusing on the development of new business through under-utilized local resources. From easy-make sake fruit cocktails to “Hacco to Go!” shake and gelato shops utilizing sake lees, Atsushi is helping to shift Niigata’s local sake industry into broader, previously untapped market segments through local cross-sector collaboration and marketing, leading to more sustainable local sake business. He established FERMENT8 in 2019 in order to extend his efforts into the expanded business of sake itself, taking up a position on the board of directors at Tsunan Sake Brewery that same year.  

Yoshitsugu Komasa – President of Komasa Jyozo
Yoshitsugu Komasa is the 4th generation president of Komasa Jyozo in Kagoshima Prefecture. Having specialized in shochu production since 1883, Mr. Komasa has overseen the establishment of Kanosuke Distillery where they have produced all-malt Japanese whisky since 2017. Because Komasa Jyozo was the first distillery to sell barrel-aged barley shochu in Japan, he has a valuable perspective on the differences between these delicious spirits.

Miho Komatsu – Sake Specialist for Marussia Beverage; Marketing and International Sales for Akashi-tai Sake Brewery
After obtaining a teacher’s license at university in Japan Miho she worked for a Japanese airline, lived in France, and received the Grand Diploma with distinction at Cordon Bleu Paris. Now based in UK and in charge of the Sake division of Marussia Beverage, as well as of marketing and international sales of Akashi Sake Brewery. As an approved educator for WSET she educates about sake globally. Miho is an IWC Sake Judge and Advanced Sake professional.
Website: Aakashi-tai
Website: Marussia Beverages

Akiko Konishi – General Manager of International Department at Konishi Brewing Co., Ltd.
After graduating from Sophia University in 2011, Akiko joined the family company, Konishi Brewing Co., Ltd. She started her career in the small craft beer brewery of the company and thus gathered experience hands-on brewing and marketing in a start-up industry. Konishi Brewing Co., Ltd. has been family owned since 1550, and representing the 16th generation of this historic sake brewery, Akiko has been passionately promoting sake, along with its rich history and culture to overseas markets. As of April 2020 she now manages both the export of sake as the import of beer as General Manager of the International Department.

Shinsaku Kuroki – President at Kuroki Honten & Osuzuyama Distillery
His approach to deepening the relationship between shochu and the agricultural products its crafted from has in recent years brought both Shinsaku’s craft and product to the forefront in the world of Japanese spirits. Working with local farming groups, his emphasis on “natural cycle farming” and integrating the byproducts from shochu back into the agricultural process is helping to create a new model of sustainability within the local farming community. He established Osuzuyama Distillery in 2019 where he creates fine whiskey and craft gin.  

Don Lee – former partner Existing Conditions
Don Lee is widely recognized as one of America’s most influential and innovative bar and drink specialists. Often working behind the scenes under the catch-all, “Director of Product Development and Education”, he’s been head of Tales of the Cocktail’s CAP program for close to a decade and was awarded “Best American Mentor” at Tales of the Cocktail 2020. While serving as Cocktail Kingdom’s designer, technologist, philosopher, and educator, he opened the highly acclaimed Existing Conditions together with Dave Arnold in 2018.

Stephen Lyman – Shochu Professional and Author
Stephen Lyman is the author of the James Beard Award-nominated The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks (Tuttle, 2019), founder of, and the first American to make their own shochu in Japan (Yamato Zakura Shuzo in Kagohsima). Thanks to his tireless work as an international advocate for the category, he’s a Japanese Government-sanctioned shochu ambassador who currently resides in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Marco Massarotto – President of Nippon Concierge; Kyoto City Cultural Ambassador
Marco Massarotto is the founder and President of Nippon Concierge a Destination Management Company, a boutique travel design and cross-cultural business advisory firm. After 20 years as a pioneer and entrepreneur in digital communication across Europe and Asia, Marco now dedicates himself fully to internationalization and cultural exchanges between Europe and the Japan and does so by designing unique and tailored travel experiences for exclusive clients consisting of education, training, and consultancy projects for companies and institutions. In 2015 he was designated as an official Kyoto City Cultural Ambassador, awarded by the Mayor of Kyoto, and selected as a Sake Samurai in 2016 by the Japan Sake Brewers Association Junior Council.

Barry McCaughley – Restaurateur; F&B Development Consultant
Barry McCaughley is a Restaurateur, Food & Beverage Development Consultant, business owner, and restaurant and bar start up specialist. He has been involved with sake since 2010 when he became one of the first UK Sake sommeliers, followed by a runner-up position in the World Sake Sommelier of the Year Awards 2013. He holds a key judging position for Sake and Asian Spirits with the IWSC and as a masterclass presenter for Imbibe Live.

Sachiko Miyagi – Sake Expert at Tippsy Inc.
Sachiko is a bilingual, bi-cultural sake and shochu lover currently residing in Los Angeles, California. Her love of hospitality and Japanese beverages lead her to work at a small craft sake brewery in Seattle, Washington, and eventually to her pursuit as an instructor at Sake School of America. She is currently working for an online sake retailer, Tippsy, Inc., which delivers sake across the U.S. Some of the certifications she holds include: JSS Academy, J.S.A. Sake Diploma, and Advanced Sake Professional.  Sachiko is also a WSET Sake Educator and an Official Lecturer by Sake Service Institute.

Katsuhiko Miyasaka – President’s Office at Miyasaka Brewing Company
Following a two-year apprenticeship at Mitsukoshi Isetan, Katsuhiko traveled to Europe, backpacking as a means of exploring the various regions’ diverse local food culture. He officially joined the family business upon his return, working hands-on in brewing and production. After a stint training with the brewery’s global sales partner, World Sake Imports, he established his post within Miyasaka Brewing Company, where he now supports product development, brand strategy, promotion, sales and long-term corporate development. 

Etsuko Nakamura – Founder of Sake Tours
Etsuko Nakamura is a Sake Samurai, pioneer of sake tourism in Japan, and Visit Kyoto Ambassador. Born and raised in Japan, she spent over ten years in California. After returning to Japan, she found the passion of her life, nihonshu. Her experience through visiting over 200+ sake breweries all over Japan lead her to take people on food and sake adventure by starting Sake Tours in 2009. She takes people behind the scenes to meet the people who grow, cook, brew, and create the incomparable food, sake, and traditional arts and crafts of Japan.
Instagram – Sake Tours
Instagram – Personal

Yasuhiko Niida – President & Toji of Niida Honke
Yasuhiki Niida took up his role representing 18 generations of Niida Honke as president at the young age of 28 following a several years in Tokyo working for a sake wholesaler. He took over as Toji in 2010. Founded in 1711, Niida Honke now producing only junmai-style sake produced using only natural yeasts and rice grown to either organic or beyond-organic standards. He is established an agricultural arm of the company in order to further their goal of entirely self-sustainable sake production and is proactively working to protect and better the rice fields throughout the local region.

Rumiko Obata – 5th Generation at Obata Sake Brewery
After a career in the international film industry she returned to Sado Island off the coast of Niigata to take over the reigns at the family brewery, taking charge of Manotsuru Sake as the 5th generation. She manages “Gakko Kura”, an abandoned schoolhouse that she transformed into an educational brewing facility on the island. She’s an expert in sake quality assessment and holds a WSET Level 3 certification in Sake.  

Takuya Ogura – Owner of Hoteru and Kaikan
Upon his transition to restaurant management from a previous career in the record industry, it wasn’t until a chance encounter with a serving of Taketsuru brand sake at ambient temperature that his path forward materialized. Feeling for the first time a definitive “identity” for sake in a sea of products dominated by aggressively aromatic profiles, that same serving of Taketsuru warm resulted in a previously unknown sense of comfort and euphoria. Committed to the proliferation of this experience he opened Kaikan in Kichijoji (Tokyo), inspiring a new generation of restaurant owners and sake service specialists to adopt kanzake as central to their beverage program. With Hoteru he continues to integrate kanzake into service as a subtle and effective means of subduing the ever-growing daily chaos.  

Taiji Okura – General Manager & Director of Sales at Gekkeikan Sake Co., Ltd. 
Born in Kyoto in 1989, after graduation from Kyoto University with a degree in economics Taiji spent several years at Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. prior to returning to Kyoto in April 2019 to take up his post at Gekkeikan Sake Brewing Co., Ltd., where his family has operated one of Japan’s oldest sake breweries since 1637. He currently serves at general manager and director of sales.

Tadayoshi Onishi – President & Toji at Kiyasho Shuzo
After receiving his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Sophia University, Tadayoshi spent 4 years in the production division of Megmilk Snow Brand Dairy Company. He then studied at Japan’s National Institute of Brewing in 2002, specializing in sake production, before returning home to take over at Kiyasho Shuzo in Mie Prefecture. Following two years learning brewing at home alongside a Tajima Guild toji, he launched the Jikon label in 2004 after taking over as master brewer. Tadayoshi has been serving as president of Kiyasho Shuzo since 2012.

Tsutomu Oshiro – CEO of Chuko Awamori Distillery
A native of Okinawa, after graduating from Tokyo University of Agriculture’s Department of Fermentation Science and Technology and serving as a technical officer in charge of analysis and brewing technology for the Liquor Tax and Industry Division of National Tax Agency, Mr. Oshiro returned to the family’s distillery in 1981 to serve as Executive Director, eventually taking over as CEO in 1991. His dedication to the traditions of awamori and expanding understanding and appreciation for the category has made Chuko Awamori Distillery one of Okinawa’s premier destinations for visitor and connoisseurs alike. 

Michael Ou – Chef & owner of Hanabi Izakaya in Taipei; President of Ho-Wei Sake Imports in Taiwan; President of Shanghai OUSAKE Consulting
With roots in the culinary world as a chef, Michael’s love for sake led him to establish Ho-Wei Sake Imports (Taiwan). Utilizing his restaurant business in order to develop and facilitate a greater understanding and appreciation for the category, he now serves as one of Taiwan’s leading educators and advocates for sake. His rich and diverse experience in both service and operation throughout the F&B industry, an unrivaled passion for sake and ability to navigate across industry lines with positivity and professionalism has made Michael one of the sake industry’s most effective evangelists.  

Sean Ou – DipWSET; Co-founder of Beverage Clique
He served the highly acclaimed Singapore Airlines as a Sommelier and Trainer for 11 years before clipping his wings. Besides attaining the elusive WSET Diploma, his repertoire extends to being a SSA Master Sake Sommelier, SSI International Kikisake-shi and Certified Whisky Ambassador. Possessing diverse experience in hospitality, distribution & training within the drinks industry, his past tour of duty included serving as Head of Wine (Southeast Asia) under the SARMENT Group and being the Co-founder of the BEVERAGE CLIQUE.

Marco Pelletier – Vigneron at Domaine de Galouchey; Proprietor of Vantre, Paris)
Marco Pelletier was born in Montreal, Canada. Serendipity led him to France and the world of wine. He worked as a sommelier for prestigious restaurants such as Taillevent and Epicure at Hotel Bristol, where he managed some of the largest Parisian wine cellars. Today he produces his own wine. In 2016 he opened Vantre, a Parisian bistro, which soon gathered the attention of the wine world for both its incredible wine list and exceptional pairing experiences with the chef’s cuisine. A sake judge for Kura Master, a number of references grace Vantre’s list. The bistro was recently presented with the prestigious Grand Award by Wine Spectator.
Website (Vantre)

Rubén Pol Ramon – Head Sommelier at Restaurant Disfrutar (Barcelona)
CMS, WSET L3,LvL, and unquestionably one of the youngest and most brilliant sommelier in Spain, Rubén is currently leading the liquid pairing at Disfrutar in Barcelona with a team of ex El Bulli chefs.
Somm’s List

Carlo Sabbatucci – Designer at HANDS ON DESIGN
Carlo is a designer, graduated in Product Service System Design at Politecnico di Milano. Since 2016 he has worked as the Strategic Designer for Hands on Design producing and selling decorative objects, tableware and other interior accessories manufactured by high-level artisans, primarily from Italy and Japan, designed together with international designers. He also collaborates as graphic and communications designer with several foundations, associations and small businesses.

Pablo Alomar Salvioni – President of Salvioni & Alomar
Spain´s pioneering sake importer and distributor (Salvioni & Alomar), Pablo’s work has been the major force behind the integration of sake in the the beverage programs at many of the top restaurants across Spain. He is an official WSET Sake Educator, SPC and ASC, sake judge and Japan lover.

David Schlosser – Owner/Chef at Shibumi (DTLA)
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, David has honed his craft at some of the finest restaurants in the world, spending time in France, Thailand, Japan, and New York City over the past 25 years. Since 2001 David has been dedicated to the world of Japanese cuisine. Prior to moving to Tokyo, he spent time under renowned chefs Masa Takayama (Masa, NY) and Hiroyuki Urasawa (Urasawa, Beverly Hills). Across four years in Japan David worked under two 3-star Michelen chefs, Chef Tokuoka (Arashiyama Kitcho) and Chef Murata (Kikunoi), an experience that heavily influenced what he crafted at Shibumi. In 2019 Shibumi received a Michelin star.

Wayne Manu Shennen – Owner of Rangitoto Tokyo Craft Sake and New Zealand Wine Bar
Born in New Zealand, Wayne has lived Australia, Brazil, Japan and England, and has been working in Hospitality since 2002. He holds the Advanced Level of Certified Sake Professionals, and has worked in breweries in Ishikawa, Saga, and Gifu Prefectures, and visited many more. Wayne is also a Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers, and in 2017 he came second in the New Zealand Sommelier of the Year competition. Rangitoto Tokyo opened in 2019 with the intention of helping spread the good word of Sake and Kiwi wine here in Japan.

Kenichi Shimazaki – CEO at Shimazaki Sake Brewery
A graduate of Tokyo University of Agriculture in Zymology, Kenichi returned to he’s family’s brewery following a stint studying the craft of sake brewing in Niigata. He took over as president (6th generation) in 2012. His label, Azuma Rikishi, explores the sweeter profiles inherent to traditional brewing practices that utilize natural properties of the rice. The brewery has been actively pursuing the development of unique expressions of aged sake since 1970.

Masataka Shirakashi – President of Kenbishi Sake Brewery
Masataka joined Kenbishi in 1999 following his graduation from Konan University with a degree in Business Management. He formally took over as president in 2017 and currently serves as director of the Nada-gogo Sake Makers Association. He was the first brewery staff to become a licensed agricultural product inspector in 2006. He received the Good Design Award for his role as producer in 2008, with Kenbishi receiving the Long Life Design Award in 2016.
Website (Japanese only)

Hayato Shoji – President & Toji at Kidoizumi Sake Brewery 
A graduate of Tokyo University of Agriculture with a degree in Zymology, Hayato spent several years working for restaurants and alcohol wholesalers and retailers in Tokyo before returning to his family’s brewery in 2001. He took over as master brewer (toji) in 2012 following the sudden death of the current toji at the time. Kidoizumi crafts sake entirely in their own “hot yamahai” style and has been proactively crafting sake for aging since the late 60s.
Website (Japanese only)

Mutsuko Soma – Chef/Owner of Kamonegi and Hannyatou
Before opening Kamonegi, Chef Soma cut her teeth at restaurants like the Harvest Vine, Chez Shea, and Saito’s. She then returned to Japan to learn the art of making traditional soba. In its inaugural year, Kamonegi was named Restaurant of the Year by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, Best New Restaurants of 2018 by the Seattle Times, among the 20 Best Restaurants in Seattle by Conde Nast Traveler, one of America’s Best New Restaurants by Eater critic Bill Addison, and a Top 50 Nominee for America’s Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetit. Chef Soma was named as one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs 2019. Chef Soma is a WSET Level 3 certified kikizakeshi or sake sommelier. She, along with co-owner Russell King, opened Hannyatou sake bar in May 2019 because in the spirit of Kamonegi, good things come in pairs. 
Kamonegi Website
Hannyatou Website

Daisuke Suzuki – President & Toji at Suzuki Shuzoten
After graduating from Tokyo University of Agriculture, Daisuke spent time brewing at Umenoyado Shuzo in Nara prior to returning home to take over Suzuki Shuzoten in 1999. After his brewery was completely destroyed by the tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan in 2011, the following disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Reactor forced him and the townspeople to abandon any immediate rebuilding efforts. That same year he moved his brewing operations to the city of Nagai in neighboring Yamagata Prefecture where he’s practicing brewing that emphasizes local character and traditions. He’s preparing to re-open his brewery back in his home town in the Spring of 2021.
Website (Japanese only)

Sho Shuzuki – Owner & Chef of SUZU GROUP
Based in Nagaoka (Niigata), SUZU GROUP operates an array of restaurants, cafes, specialty grocery stores, as well as hyper-localized tourist information centers focused on facilitating connections to local food, ingredients and business. As a chef he develops new products utilizing local ingredients and emphasizing the unique qualities of the local food culture. He’s currently developing and supporting the operation of experiential food tourism throughout the Niigata region and helping train and support an upcoming generation of local chefs. (Japanese only)
Website(Japanese only)

Toshinari Takahashi – Production Manager at Kikumasamune Sake Brewing Co., Ltd.; Doctor of Bioscience
Toshinari Takahashi has spent roughly 20 years researching the scientific processes behind the traditional kimoto-style method of sake brewing as part of the Kikumasamune Research Center. His work led to him becoming head of R&D in 2013 and taking the helm as Production Manager in 2019. He has received awards for his work from The Society of Biotechnology of Japan in 2015 and from the Brewing Society of Japan in 2017.

Kenichi Takaya – Owner/Chef at Nihonshu-ya
After a stint in engineering Tatsuya opened Nihonshu-ya in Kichijoji (Tokyo) in 2009, a restaurant which has gone on to establish a reputation for comfortably and effectively introducing a new generation to the value of kanzake. He serves on the planning committee for the Oedo Sake Matsuri and is proactive in a variety of food and beverage service projects, products and events. He sees kanzake as central to his own human experience and a means of providing a universal sense of comfort and warmth. 

Masaru Terada – 24th generation President & Toji at Terada Honke
Marrying into Terada Honke, a small sake brewery in the town of Kozaki (Chiba Prefecture) with a history dating back to the late 1600s, Masaru’s life transformed into one informed by the natural microbial world, fermentation and agriculture. Driven by a philosophy of brewing that incorporates and welcomes the co-existence of a diverse and mutually-supported microbial environment, he spends his days in conversation with the most capable brewers of all, crafting Gonin Musume, Katori, and Musubi brand sake. He took over the reigns as toji in 2018 and finds joy in the rice fields and in the brewery.
Website (Japanese only)

Kanako Teshigawara – Founder & Owner of CREMA; Independent Food Planner & French Interpreter
After several years in the wine trade Kanako spent 7 years working specifically with food and culinary projects centered around the work of French chefs, leading her to establish CREMA in 2000 specializing in food design and event planning throughout the broader culinary community. She currently manages food and culinary project planning, event production, coordination and promotion. She specializes in food and culinary-related translation and interpretation, working closely with many of Tokyo’s pioneering French chefs. Her passion for kanzake inspired her to serve as organizer of the France Kanban Tour since its inception in 2016.

Xavier Thuizat – President of Kura Master; Chef Sommelier at Hotel de Crillon
Xavier Thuizat honed his skills at Michelin starred restaurants such as Le Meurice and worked with acclaimed chefs such as Pierre Gagnaire and Bernard Loiseau. He then built the cellar of newly renovated Peninsula Hotel in Paris, becoming the Head sommelier of the palace. Since early 2017, he has been Chef Sommelier at the prestigious Hotel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel. Xavier discovered sake in 2014 and immediately fell in love. According to him, sake opens new horizons in food pairing, which wine cannot achieve. He subsequently toured Japan repeatedly to meet producers and learn about the product. He is the President of Kura Master Paris, a sought-after sake competition which started in 2017. In 2020, he was awarded the Sake Samurai title by the Japan Sake Brewers Association Junior Council.
Website (Kura Master)

Shiro Toyonaga – President of Toyonaga Shuzo
Following a degree in economics and a short stint in the wider professional world, Shiro Toyonaga formally joined Toyonaga Shuzo in 1984, eventually taking over as president in 1999. He represents a family of farmers dating back 14 generations, which deeply informs both his philosophy and practice when it comes to crafting authentic Kuma Shochu.

Junko Tsutsumi – President at Sengetsu Shuzo
Founded in 1903, Junko Tsutsumi represents 4 generations of premium shochu making at Sengetsu Shuzo, taking over as president in 2016 after a career in advertising and returning to the family business in 2003. Located in the town of Hitoyoshi, Sengetsu Shuzo rests in the heartland of geographically indicated Kuma Rice Shochu. It’s here that she focuses her company’s energy on giving back to the community creating ways for her traditional industry to invest centrally in the region while exploring the untapped potential of the shochu category. 

Nobuhiro Ueno – Owner at Shu Saron Aged Sake Bar; Founder of Toki Sake Association
Nobuhiro’s prolific career in the beverage industry has seen him managing beverage programs for the Hotel New Otani, working in bars and restaurants throughout California, serving as beverage service director for Tour d’Argent Tokyo, and more. In 1989 he left the service industry to work in sales for a brewing equipment maker, establishing close relationships with sake producers across the country in the process. He opened Shu Saron Aged Sake Bar in 2002 and founded the Toki Sake Association in 2019 with the goal of defining new standards for koshu and various interpretations of matured sake.

Jeremy Umansky – Co-author of Koji Alchemy; Chef/owner of Larder Delicatessen & Bakery
Jeremy Umansky, along with Rich Shih, is the coauthor of Koji Alchemy: Rediscovering The Magic of Mold Based Fermentation. He is a chef/owner of Larder Delicatessen & Bakery in Cleveland, Ohio, USA nominated by the James Beard Foundation as the Best New Restaurant in America in 2019 and Best Chef Great Lakes in 2020. He has been featured in numerous publications like Bon Appetit and Saveur and was named “The Deli Prophet” by Food & Wine in the March 2019 Makers Issue. Jeremy is also a licensed Wild Mushroom Expert via the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

Hitoshi Utsunomiya – Director at Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association
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, as well as educated numerous technicians specializing in sake production. He is the co-author of the acclaimed book, Sake Pairing, published in 2019.

Tekkan Wakamatsu – Master Brewer-Distiller at Yamato Zakura Shuzo
As the master brewer-distiller of Yamato Zakura Shuzo, a family-owned shochu distillery in operation since the mid-1800s, Mr. Wakamatsu painstakingly crafts all of his sweet potato shochu by hand. He’s one of the few remaining artisans to go to such lengths and is currently heralded as one of the leading artisans spearheading a new generation of craft shochu production.

Yoshiki Watanabe – President of Watanabe Shuzo
Entering Watanabe Shuzo in 1987 and taking over as president in 2001, his time focusing on rice production and preservation of the local region instigated a dramatic shift in 2003, committing to the production of sake-specific rice varietals for the brewery, by the brewery. Adopting a domaine-style approach, Yoshiki Watanabe and the team at the brewery have gradually expanded and deepened their involvement in the fields in direct relation to their brewing practices over more than 30 years. Their hard work had largely flown under the radar until being awarded the Champion Sake for Nechi in the Sake Division of the 2010 International Wine Challenge. The brewery now cultivates more than 90% of its raw materials and is fully committed to producing sake that is a direct extension of its agricultural practices. 

Eugene Wong – Director of Mr. Otaru
Eugene Wong runs Mr Otaru, a premium boutique sake purveyor specializing in artisanal craft sake labels. An Advanced Sake Professional recognized by the Sake Education Council of Japan, a Kikisake-shi, and a Certified Sake Sommelier, he is a published writer on sake and has a passion to enlighten anyone to the joys of Japanese sake and culture. In addition, Wong has also been featured in publications such as Singapore Tatler, The Edge & Channel News Asia.

Takenosuke Yasufuku – President of Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Breweries Ltd.
Following a degree in economics spread across Notre Dame University, The State University of New York and Konan University, Takenosuke spent 6 years at Asahi Breweries Ltd. before returning to Kobe in order carry on the legacy of Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Breweries Ltd. dating back to 1751. He took over as president of the corporation in 2011 and currently serves as the director of the Nada Gogo Breweries Association. 

Masayuki Yokomoto – Director of Sales & Marketing at Yoshinogawa Co., Ltd
From birth through his formative years in Kyoto, followed by 20 years in Tokyo working in advertising where he helped pioneer new styles of communication for traditional industries – including sumo – he moved to Nagaoka to take up a position at Niigata’s oldest sake brewery, Yoshinogawa. Here he manages and helps oversee advertising, marketing, product development, local tourism development, and more.  

Yuzo Yokoyama – President & Toji at Omoya Shuzo
Born and raised on Iki Island off the coast of Nagasaki, Yuzo took up a position with Kyowa Hakko Bio Co., Ltd. following his graduation from Rikkyo University, where he remained until 1994 when he returned to the family business to join Omoya Shuzo. He shortly after took over at toji, later adding the role of president to his business card in 2014 upon formally incorporating the company.

More incredible guests to be announced.
Stay tuned!


Sake Future Summit 2020 is made possible with the incredible support of the following organizations and individuals.

Supporting Organizations

Special Thanks

Harald deRopp
Hiromi Iuchi
Asako Nomoto
Jim Rion
Mika Eoka
Jessica Kozuka
Hiroaki Oikawa
John Townsend
Julian Houseman
Arline Lyons
Toru Oishi


If you have any questions or inquiries regarding Sake Future Summit 2020 feel free to contact us here.


Programs, speakers, content, times or other details regarding the nature of the Sake Future Summit are all subject to change. These changes may be due to unforseen circumstances, and as a result the hosting organization(s) may not be able to provide sufficient prior notice. Your understanding in such an event is appreciated.

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