This weekend the world celebrates Sake Day!
If that's news to you, keep reading! Even if you already knew, you might not know why this day is celebrated every October 1st. It has to do with Sake's most important ingredient:
Rice culture permeates Japanese society.
No where is this felt more than the Sake industry. Historically, rice farmers would begin the process of harvesting rice around October 1st, hence the holiday, but the harvest is just the beginning for Sake. After the rice is harvested it gets weighed, packaged, taxed and sold to Sake breweries.
So what's the rice farmer to do with themselves in the winter?
For many breweries, producing, marketing, and selling Sake is a year-round job. But when it comes to the busy, labor-intense winter brewing season, they need to hire seasonal workers. Who better to hire than the farmers who grew your rice? These farm workers are free for the same reason winter is ideal for brewing: things (plant and bacteria) don't grow as easily in Japan's harsh winter.
Modern Timesss-Shhhmodern Times!
With all the modernization of Sake techniques and equipment, can't Sake be made year round? The answer of course is "yes", but for various reasons including the work-culture and maintaining certain techniques, most premium Sake is still brewed only during the winter months, and aged various lengths of time (usually weeks/months) so that each seasonal release corresponds with the food eaten in that season.
Another big reason Sake's seasonality persists is because there aren't really new, upstart, Sake breweries in Japan. To protect existing Sake manufactures, the Japanese government also has not granted a Sake brewing permit to a new brewery in a very long time. Kamoizumi, in Hiroshima might be Japan's youngest brewery, and it started over 100 years ago!
World Sake Day in America
Much the opposite of Japan, new Sake breweries are opening up shop all over the United States! If you live in any big - especially coastal - city, look for the Sake Day event near you this weekend!
Have you been to a Sake Day event? Have a great story or delicious Sake you found there? Or want to skip the chit-chat and go straight to tasting Sake? SAKE SECRET can help:
Get involved! Want to share your experience or ask a question? Read something that didn't make sense? Feel free to comment below, or continue the conversation on
Until next time,