Museum of Sake Journal Summer 2016 - Page 54

AN EDUCATION The new Level 1 course is ideal for anyone whose job includes some work with sake, and who needs a basic understanding of the major categories and how they are made. Both are also ideal for enthusiastic sake consumers who wish to deepen their knowledge. NK: Do you have to have done the lower levels in wine before attempting the WSET sake course? There is no requirement to have studied wine before studying sake. We made a deliberate, careful decision to treat wine, spirits and sake as independent products. IN the classroom we sometimes can make some illuminating contrasts and comparisons between categories. But these are explained at the time. AM: Whom do you seek to communicate sake with? Individuals, restaurants or a mixture? NK: will be a market correction in the near future –if we will see some brands dropped and companies exit a sector that is currently very competitive, or if the market will grow fast enough to support the current number of players. Either way, the trend is upwards and likely to continue to be so, rather than being a temporary fad)even if projecting is difficult because the trends are so little unstable and hard to predict. How have awards such as the IWC sake award and events such as Hyper Japan helped to communicate sake to a European audience? NK: With the people I know in the wine industry, IWC Sake has done a huge amount to spread awareness. The target for Hyper Japan is different –I imagine it is effective, but I have not been involved. AM: What cultural barriers to sake still need to be crossed for people to enjoy sake like wine? NK: AM: Many of the sake-related job roles lie currently in restaurant, but in many countries the import and distribution sectors are growing too. These, and shop retail, can all be carried out more effectively when the employees understand their product. Success, for us, means reaching all of these sectors. Individual sake-loving consumers are not a specific target, but we hope to encourage them too, and in our experience we know that they gain a lot from the course. NK: People who are fussy and elaborate about wine service (obsessing over food pairing, serviceware and service temperature) are likely to stir themselves into an intimidated state when encountering sake –perhaps wishing it to be just as complex, but lacking the knowledge to cope with the anticipated complexity. In fact, both can be very simple to appreciate and enjoy, as well as rewarding further study for those that wish to undertake it. I am a little disconnected from the hard side of the trade, but I can share my impressions. It seems that there are many more sakes coming into the market, and more importers and distributors becoming involved in sake. I am not sure if there The idea that sake should be served in appropriate Japanese serviceware, with appropriate Japanese cuisine, is the single most limiting factor inhibiting wider enjoyment of sake. Once someone discovers that they like the flavour of sake, I would like them to feel comfortable drinking it chilled, in a wine glass, with pizza, pasta, paella, or paneer. How has the sake market changed in the last 5 years in the UK? (both in commercial and domestic markets) AM: AM: MUSEUM OF SAKE JOURNAL 54