Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake: Rice, Water, Earth

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Published Date 

by Nancy Matsumoto (Author), Michael Tremblay (Author), John Gauntner (Foreword)

May 10, 2022

Size 18cm x 23cm x 2.2cm


300 color photographs
Number of Pages



This stunning guide invites you into the story of sake--an ancient beverage finding its way in a modern world.

Whether you're a sake novice or an experienced connoisseur, Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake offers fascinating insights, practical tips, and rich stories about this popular beverage.

Authors and experts Nancy Matsumoto and Michael Tremblay personally undertook the challenge of visiting 35 artisanal sake breweries in Japan, the US, and Canada to interview makers and document every stage of the sake brewing process. Nancy's celebrated journalistic background combined with Michael's sake sommelier experience have led to an engaging and informative look at the world of sake.

With over 300 color photos and a lively narrative, this fascinating book provides:

  • A comprehensive introduction to the science and history of sake brewing in Japan
  • A look at how fine craft sakes are brewed today using traditional methods and no additives--only rice, water, koji, and yeast
  • Histories of Japan's venerable breweries, some of them over 300 years old!
  • An answer to why some breweries are able to turn out a superior quality of sake
  • A discussion of rice varieties and the contentious topic of terroir in the context of sake making.
  • Current trends in the world of sake, including the fine sakes now brewed outside Japan
  • Tasting notes and recommendations for top craft sakes you have not heard about yet

This book also includes personal recipes from several top Japanese sake-brewing families along with food-pairing tips and a chapter on the authors' own Japanese sake-bar-going adventures.

"Sake literature lacks a benchmark, authoritative, yet accessible book for pros and generalists interested in this fantastic universe. That is until now. Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake is a great addition to the literature, able to transcend sake geekdom thanks to its strong cultural narrative. A must-read for Japan-lovers and sake-freaks alike!" -- Pascaline Lepeltier, Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, Best French Sommelier 2018

"This sake book, woven like a road-movie, will be a landmark in the contemporary world of Japanese sake." --Gen Yamamoto, bartender/owner, Bar Gen Yamamoto, Tokyo.

"Nancy Matsumoto and Michael Tremblay have written a groundbreaking tome on sake that goes far beyond the scope of anything available in the English language. …it's an exhaustive, artful study that appeals to anyone who shares the authors' respect and adoration for Japanese beverage culture and history." -- Anna Lee C. Iijima, Contributing Editor, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

About the Authors:
Michael Tremblay is a Sake Samurai and Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certified Educator residing in Toronto. He is the Sommelier at ki modern Japanese + bar, a Japanese restaurant with one of Canada's largest sake programs. He is the Founder of the Sake Scholar Course, a certification course that explores the regionality of sake. @mtrsake

Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sake, food, agroecology, and Japanese arts and culture. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Toronto Globe and Mail, Food and Wine, and theAtlantic.com. She is the editor of By the Shore of Lake Michigan, an English-language translation of Japanese tanka poems, and a contributor to a number of other books and publications. The holder of three sake certifications, she divides her time between Toronto and New York City. Find her at nancymatsumoto.com and at @NancyMatsumoto.

John Gauntner is recognized as the world's leading non-Japanese sake expert. A longtime Japan resident, he is well known among sake brewers and others within the sake industry. He wrote the Nihonshu Column in the Japan Times for many years before writing a weekly column on sake in Japanese for the Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's and the world's most widely distributed Japanese newspaper. In 2006, John received the Sake Samurai award, the first year it was awarded. He has published five books on sake.

The Art of Sake's take:
Be the first batch of people in the world to receive the latest sake book in the market as the official publishing date is 10 May 2022! (; Satisfying addition to your sake library and great for gifting.