Sake SET Vol 4 : Hot Off The Press x Samurai Flag @ Asakusa

Written by Chris Hughes

Date: 17/01/16
Venue: Kurand Sake Market Asakusa Branch
Participants: 54
Duration: 4 hours
Theme: newly brewed sake

On 17th January 2016, we held our fourth SAKE SET (Sake Exchange Tokyo) event in conjunction with the international exchange group Samurai Flag. It is thanks to this collaboration that we achieved our first full house. A massive thank you to everyone who attended.

Ice Breaker Game


We opened this month’s event at Asakusa with a brand new sake themed ice breaker game, a fun new way to interact with other people. Participants were handed a game card which assigned them a sake brewing job title— all jobs that you would find in a standard sake brewery set-up— and to a particular prefecture in Japan. The aim of the game is to go around the room trying to make up a brewing team of people from the same prefecture with the 3 other job titles. The first 4 successfully completed teams to announce themselves to our staff would each win a free sake cup (ochoko) for each team member.

The Theme


This month’s theme was new brews. Basically speaking, newly brewed sake shipped in its freshest form without any processing —the ‘Boujolais Nouveau’ of the sake world if you will. This type of sake is only available at this time of year making it super sought after and super limited edition. We are very lucky at KURAND to be able to stock a total of 12 newly brewed sakes at any time which rotates throughout the new brew period through all 42 of the breweries that we showcase. The new brew season runs from late November to March / April 2016. Sake doesn’t get any fresher than this.

The Lecture


● Sake in a nutshell
● Cultural origins and history
● Modern developments
● Raw ingredients
● Production process:
● Seasonal Sake – The New Brew
● BY Brewing Year
● New Brew Production Method
● Types of New Brews

The Guided Tasting


Participants were taken through a guided tasting of 6 completely different sakes divided up into the following 3 categories:

● Sake where the rice is centre stage
● Sake made with special production technique
● Atypical new brew

Participants were then free to compare as many sakes as they could muster and make friends in the process.


With so many new faces this month’s event provided everyone with the perfect opportunity to make friends. Japanese speakers could meet English speakers and vica versa.


Photo Session in Costume

Some people had their photo taken trying on one of a number of different sake brewing aprons.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the breweries that kindly provided these.




If this event report has tickled your taste buds, there is another SET just around the corner.

Celebrations and ritual

Learn about sake’s role in celebration and ritual as an integral part of everyday traditional Japanese culture. What kind of sake is appropriate for a wedding, coming of age party, moon viewing, snow viewing etc etc? With so many different events in the Japanese calendar, it is hardly surprising that so many different styles exist. To tie in with the timing of the event, we will also be answering that killer question: just what sake would you give to your love interest on Valentine’s Day?

— Roses are red, violets are blue, someone out there is waiting for that special sake from you!

I look forward to seeing you all there!!

SAKE SET VOL 5 7th February noon-4pm (Asakusa Branch)