Why do sake drinkers slurp!? Occupational habit? We asked the brewer

Have you ever witnessed people making weird slurping sounds when they drink sake? While this kind of behaviour might seem normal at sake tasting events, it could be considered unsightly or unsanitary in a casual drinking environment.

It makes you wonder if the brewers themselves ever succumb to this habit. Is this kind of thing purely for an audience, or do they do it in private too? We decided to go direct to the brewer for the answer.

Occupational Habit? Why Do We Make Noises When We Drink Sake in the First Place?

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Believe it or not, it is actually an established way of drinking sake. You open your mouth slightly to take in air as you drink and exhale through your nose, making slurping noises as you go. As for the noises? simply put, it helps you to taste the aromas of sake — in theory at least.

But what about the brewers? when they are not tasting sake in a professional capacity (if there ever is such a time) do they still practise this method?

How Does the Brewer Do It?

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Brewing; opportunities to taste lots of sake and its all part of the job. Could someone in such a professional capacity be guilty of the occasional slurp?

Do You Ever Make a Slurping Noise When You Drink Sake?pie_chart3

(A total of 17 breweries were surveyed.)

Yes 15 / No 2

So there you have it, 80% of the brewers we asked answered: “yes”.

In What Kind of Situations Will You Slurp?

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When asked to elaborate and tell us the sort of places that they would adopt this way of drinking, as much as 30% told us that they would only do so at professional tastings; it’s purpose is clearly more about gaining a deeper understanding of the sake than anything else.

That being said, in among those yes’s were plenty of no’s. Those brewers refrain from making such a noise when they drink because they worry how it looks to the general consumer. The same brewers were also keen to point out that it is not the only way to form a multifaceted opinion of sake: vibration, altering the temperature etc etc also have the same effect. The results of this survey tells us that brewers are always trying to think up new ways to gain a better understanding of what they drink.

What About When Not in a Professional Capacity?

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(A total of 17 brewers were surveyed.)

Yes 5 / No 12

The overall response to this question was completely different. Only 30% told us that they would make a slurpping noise when not in a professional capacity.  Some said that it was in respect for the other drinkers around them.  Either way, for most brewers it appears to be reserved for professional purposes.

“when we come across a new sake, we might slurp to unearth its secrets; this is particularly true for rival brewery’s sakes;  the curiosity is too much to resist” was the response from some of our more studious brewers.

Could it be that to slurp = to be an expert of sake?

So there you have it, when others are present, outside of a professional capacity, even brewers have their scrupples about such audible drinking practises. On the other hand, when presented with a new sake or a rival brewery’s sake, these scrupples appear to go straight out the window.

Just think the next time you see someone slurpping happily away on their sake in a corner of the bar, it could be a brewer plotting out their next delicious sake.

We won’t mind at all if you slurp at KURAND!

Come and slurp until your heart is content! We are waiting!