Sake in the Nuclear Age


Sake is the one wine that my husband and I can find pleasure in drinking together. Although I like the cloudy and silken cold variety he, the beer drinker, loves the hot and easy gulping draft.

When the reports of devastation started bombarding our television screens I was, of course, concerned with my precious Sake breweries. There are over 100 breweries in 3 regions. It is written that each of the 100 breweries have been damaged in some way by the earthquake or tsunami. The extent of the damage is still being explored but some have begun reporting of inventory, building or total loss. Imagine if that happened in Bordeaux?

A Decanter report wrote;
“According to Kenichi Ohashi, a Master of Sake based in Tokyo, the damage to the breweries is just one part of the challenges ahead for Japan’s sake industry. In common with every Japanese industry, the real challenge to sake will be getting the businesses working again in the coming months, with lack of raw materials, fuel, transportation and infrastructure, he said.”

So when it is time to plant the 2011 rice harvest what will happen? Who will plant it and better question- where will it be planted? Will we glow green when we imbibe in the coming vintages, and not the usual red? I think the US will see a peak of interest in their own California Sake. It is a solidly made product that will soon enjoy more real estate on North American liquor shelves. Maybe this devastation will give rise to premium Sake being made on our side of the world. But for now my heart goes out to those affected by this disaster and each time I raise my glass I will hope that this industry will be able to re-build and eventually rejoice.

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