Despite dedicated U.S. sake programs and educated American sommeliers, sake has been a harder sell in U.S. Federal regulations have never been able to properly define the drink. It’s taxed as a beer, but regulated as a wine. Education is a big issue. Many Americans think sake is a wine, causing them to drink too much of it and feel sick. Sake is brewed from fermented rice, making it similar to a beer.
“There’s a learning curve, but there’s also a bit of a cultural barrier. Sake can come across the way wine can — this very sophisticated product that’s expensive and that’s a bit esoteric, like you can’t really appreciate it unless you know all the nomenclature,” says Weston Konishi, president of the Sake Brewers Association of North America. “And then there’s the fact that Japanese sake tends to be labeled in Japanese, which most Americans can’t read. That’s been something of a barrier.”
Now more sake brewers are putting their sake in cans, making easy-to-purchase, grab-and-go options. It’s cheaper, too, at $5 a can versus $30 for a bottle.
“There’s something less intimidating about a can versus a bottle — that’s one advantage to canning sake. It’s not so erudite and out of reach,” says Konishi.
Inside Hook highlights six brands selling sake in cans.
Read more (Inside Hook)