The State of Sake Amidst COVID 19: Part 2


Thanks for tuning in to Part 2 of our special focusing on the current impact of COVID-19 on the sake and shochu industries. If you haven’t yet listened to Part 1, where we interview a number of significant individuals with unique perspective on the industry here in Japan, that’s a great place to start. You can find that here.

Slightly different from Part 1, this particular recording is more discussion-based. This time around several of your regular Sake On Air hosts, including John Gauntner, Sebastien Lemoine, Christopher Pellegrini, and Justin Potts, share anecdotal insights from their own experiences over the past several months. While our experience is by no means any be-all-end-all “official” word on where things stand, we hope that it will contribute further perspective, as well as provide some additional food for thought.

In addition to the impact of COVID-19, we also touch upon the serious flooding that has battered the Kyushu region throughout the month of July, only adding insult to injury in already incredibly trying times. This is impacting the livelihoods of the locals, as well as producers across both the shochu and sake industries.

If any listeners are keen to donate and contribute to the relief efforts still very much underway, please contact us at and we’ll be happy to provide you with a few potential options. As all of these activities and the information related to them are being conducted in Japanese, it makes it hard for the international community to support. If you’d like to help, let us know how we can help you.  

While all of us in Japan are now generally free to roam at this point, this particular conversation took place online, with John joining us from the U.S., where he’s been grounded since the early days of all of this, Christopher and Sebastien joining us from their respective locales in the heart the Tokyo metropolis, and Justin tuning in from his home Chiba countryside.

For this conversation, do feel free to pour yourself a glass or two of sake or shochu (or both) and settle in with us. After the show, we’d love to hear from our listeners about their experiences over the past several months all across the globe, so do feel free to reach out to us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook at @sakeonair, or mail us at

Thanks so much for joining us across this special two-part series. As this is an ongoing challenge affecting everyone, we’ll very likely revisit this topic again six months or a year from now. While the hurdles to overcome are high any many, we’re all guaranteed to learn a lot through this process together. We look forward to helping keep you informed along the way.

We’ll be back to our regular programming in two weeks.
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 a co-production between Export Japan and Potts.K Productions, with audio production by Frank Walter.

Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” is composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.

PRESS RELEASE – Sake On Air 1-year Anniversary Celebration



World’s 1st Sake & Shochu-dedicated Podcast

“Sake On Air” Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary

TOKYO – Sake On Air – the world’s number one podcast dedicated to Japan’s iconic beverages, sake and shochu – is commemorating the first year of shows by hosting its first ever live audience Q&A episode with the hosts at the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center to be streamed via the show’s official Facebook page.

A Year of Sake On Air

Since its first broadcast one year ago, Sake On Air has amassed regular listeners in over 50 countries across the globe and is downloaded thousands of times every single month by an ever-growing population of sake and shochu fans. Over the past year Sake On Air has completely revamped its website, making it easy to find and enjoy new and past episodes, gather event info and insight from the hosts, and get to know the team behind Sake On Air providing unprecedented access to the sake and shochu industries. Originally starting with 5 rotating hosts, industry veteran and insider Rebekah Wilson-Lye, and sake world trailblazer Marie Nagata also joined the team as regular hosts this past Spring.

After making regular appearances at some of Tokyo’s most exciting sake events, sharing the voices of some of the industry’s pioneering breweries, and incorporating insight from industry leaders spearheading the international sake movement across the globe, the Sake On Air team is thrilled to look back on a year of sake and shochu podcasting, as well as look ahead to what’s coming down the pipe in year two of Sake On Air together with the show’s dedicated listeners.

Send us your Questions and Tune in

To commemorate a year of sake-infused podcasting, Sake On Air will be hosting a small private event on November 25th (Mon) beginning at 7:00 pm (Japan time) at the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center in Tokyo, recapping a year of Sake On Air, looking ahead to year two, and hosting a live Q&A. A presentation portion of the show, as well as the Q&A will be broadcast live on the Sake On Air Facebook page, with snippets from the after party and host comments popping up throughout the evening on official Instagram feed. Those interested in taking part from afar are encouraged to send their questions and comments to the team via Instagram, Twiiter, Facebook, or to between November 18th (Mon) and 23rd (Sat), and your questions may be addressed on air.

Media inquiries and interview requests to:

Download images and press materials here:

(*Photos and images are the property of Sake On Air and are to be used solely for informative purposes.)

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About Sake On Air

Sake On Air began in October 2018 as the world’s first podcast dedicated to Japan’s most inspiring beverages: sake and shochu. Hosted by a rotating team of industry professionals, the bi-weekly show brings the stories from the front lines of the industry, serving as an informative, educational and inspiring resource for a world of sake and shochu fans, food and beverage specialists, and sake-curious. Sake On Air is broadcast from the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center in Tokyo, Japan, and is made possible with the support of the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association.


Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association

Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center

Export Japan Inc. (link in Japanese)

Potts.K Productions

Sake Event Schedule (Oct-Nov 2019)


The Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center is home to a slew of sake-centric events all throughout the year. On occasion, we like to pool that info together in one place to share with our listeners so that locals are in-the-know and lucky visitors don’t miss out on a great opportunity to further (re)discover exciting realms of sake, shochu and awamori.

Sake Salon #23 – Fushimi Sake Night

  • Date: October 28 (Mon)
  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Location: Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center
  • Guests: Tokubei Masuda (President of Masuda Tokubei Shoten, makers of Tsuki no Katsura brand sake), Yukihiro Kitagawa (President of Kitagawa Honke, makers of Tomio brand sake)
  • Seats: 30 people
  • Details: Event will include presentations from both breweries along with tastings and light food to accompany.
  • Registration: HERE

Shochu Day Celebration w/ Live Jazz

  • Date: November 1st (Fri)
  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Location: Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center
  • Guests: YoYo the Pianoman
  • Details: Celebrate International Shochu Day with open tastings of over 30 varieties of shochu and awamori accompanied by live jazz.
  • Reservation: HERE

Sake Salon #24 with Urakasumi

  • Date: November 7th (Thurs)
  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Location: Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center
  • Guest: Benoit Champagne (International Sales Representative for Saura Shuzho, makers of Urakasumi brand sake)
  • Seats: 20 people
  • Details: Event will include presentation from Mr. Champagne along with a selection of tastings from Urakasumi and light food to accompany.
  • Registration: HERE

Sake and Finnish Food Event

  • Date: November 22nd (Fri)
  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Location: Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center
  • Guests: Representatives from the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo
  • Details: A special event to commemorate 100 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Finland. Enjoy a selection of sake together with various light fare representative of and inspired by classic Finnish cuisine.
  • NOTE: This event will be hosted and conducted primarily in Japanese. Non-Japanese speakers are more than welcome to attend. Please just note that English language support will be limited.