Episode 153 Show Notes

Episode 153. Listen in as we continue our series of live interviews from the American Craft Sake Festival 2023! This week it’s all about SAKE Y’ALL, as the T-shirt of our interviewee says. We welcome Co-founder and Head Brewer of The Void Sake Company, Justin LeVaughn. Justin runs Kentucky’s only sake brewery founded in 2020. He talks to us about his road to discovering sake as well as the styles of sake that are popular at his taproom. Orange Creamsicle Nigori anyone? We also discuss how the local water impacts the fermentation and finish on his brews. If you are in Kentucky, this taproom is really worth a visit, as they often feature live music and an array of events. Special thanks to SBANA, the Sake Brewers Association of North America, for organizing the festival and to North American Sake Brewery for hosting the event location. Look for other interviews from the American Craft Sake Festival in coming weeks. Kanpai, Y’all!

Skip to: 00:19 Hosts Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy

Skip to: 05:49 Interview: Justin LeVaughn, The Void Sake Company

Interview with Justin LeVaughn of The Void Sake Company

Justin LeVaughn, The Void Sake Company
About Justin LeVaughn
Justin LeVaughn is the co-founder and head Brewer at The Void Sake Company in Lexington Kentucky. Found in 2020, The Void blends Japanese tradition with American Craft to share it’s love for sake and educate the region. Justin has worked in brewing industry for 8 years as quality control manager and brewer at Ethereal Brewing. Justin background includes research lab manager, teaching college biology and science education at the University of Kentucky where he completed both graduate training in cell biology and a Master’s degree in STEM education. Justin has presented nationally and regionally for the Master Brewer’s Association of America, and the Kentucky Guild of Brewers. Additionally, Justin has been involved with brewing industry outreach and informal science education within the local community.

The Void Sake Company Taproom
About The Void Sake Company
The Void Sake Company. Kentucky’s first sake brewery. Located in Lexington KY, stop by and enjoy live music, performances and some of the best sake around! Now serving ramen at the Void’s tap room restaurant.

Discover more about The Void Sake Company:
The Void Website: https://www.thevoidsake.com/
The Void Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thevoidsake
The Void Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thevoidsake/
Order Void Sake on VinoShipper: https://vinoshipper.com/shop/the_void_sake_co

Taproom Location and Hours:
949 National Ave Suite 190 Lexington, KY 40502
Monday Closed
Tuesday 4pm-10pm
Wednesday 4pm-10pm
Thursday 4pm-10pm
Friday 4pm-11pm
Saturday 4pm-11pm
Sunday 2pm-6pm

Sake Brewers Association of North America

Sake Brewers Association of North America
Founded by North American sake brewers in early 2019, the Sake Brewers Association of North America (SBANA) is a 501(c)(6) non-profit focused on promoting and protecting North America’s sake brewers, their sake, and the community of sake enthusiasts. The Association has Three Core Areas of Focus:

Consumer Development
The majority of consumers are still unfamiliar with sake as a category. To address this the Association engages in broad external communication initiatives.

Brewery Development
We are the ‘voice’ for the North American sake industry. We focus on a wide spectrum of initiatives

Legislative Reform
At this time the legislative landscape is extremely confusing for the sake industry. At the federal level, under the Internal Revenue Code, for matters relating to production and tax, sake is treated as beer. However, under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, for labeling and advertising, sake is treated as wine. This confusion only deepens at the state level.

Web: https://sakeassociation.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SakeAssociation
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sakeassociation
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sakeassn

About North American Sake Brewery

The North American Sake Brewery was officially founded in 2016 by Jeremy Goldstein and Andrew Centofante, but their story begins many years prior to that. Andrew was working for Semester at Sea, which allowed him to travel all over the world. He had many stops in Japan and discovered an immediate reverence for Japanese culture. Jeremy was a film producer, and while filming a documentary in Asia, he grew very fond of Japanese people, their food, and the country’s incredibly rich history.

But it wasn’t until 2014, while on a trip for a film project in Los Angeles, Jeremy was exposed to truly great Japanese sake. In the past, he had experienced warmed sake at American sushi restaurants, but this was an altogether different and illuminating occasion. A professional Sake Sommelier guided a tasting with several fresh, cold sakes that would forever change his life. When Jeremy returned to Charlottesville, he ran into his friend Andrew and told him about his sake experience. Andrew jumped at the chance to find great sake again and the two began enjoying sake together, finding special bottles of delicious, umami-rich sakes.

One night after a few too many glasses (or bottles, really) of sake, Andrew asked the fateful question: Do you think we could try making a homebrew batch?

It wasn’t long after that night that Andrew fermented his first batch which led to converted his basement into a full-time sake brewing operation. He and Jeremy would travel to Japan and the USA, visiting other sake brewers, learning the craft, becoming certified as Sake Professionals, and bringing their sake to many private parties & tastings around their hometown of Charlottesville, VA.

A few years later on August 25th, 2018, the North American Sake Brewery would have its grand opening at their current space in the IX Art Park. Andrew continues his passion for sake as the Head Brewer, while Jeremy takes the leadership role on the business end. Together, they continue to spread the gospel of great craft sake, and look forward to many years of pushing the boundaries of their industry.

Skip to: 26:01 Show Closing

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Episode 153 Transcript

John Puma: 0:21
Hello, everybody, and welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first sake podcast. I’m your host, John Puma from the Sake Notes, also the administrator over the internet, Sake Discord. And the lead mod at reddit’s r slash sake community,

Timothy Sullivan: 0:38
And I’m your host, Timothy Sullivan. I’m a Sake Samurai. I’m a sake educator as well as the founder of the Urban Sake website. And every week, John and I will be here tasting and chatting about all things sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand. Hey, John, how you doing?

John Puma: 0:55
I am recovering

Timothy Sullivan: 0:57
Me too.

John Puma: 0:58
a little bit yeah, uh recently got back From the American Craft Sake Festival where we uh had we had a booth we had a table We got up on a stage last episode of the show you guys heard Uh, the results of us being on the stage and it was a lot of fun to do But like wow, it was a lot. It was it was It was a whole lot tim. What were your what were your big takaways?

Timothy Sullivan: 1:24
In, in the biz, I think they call that action packed.

John Puma: 1:28
I think they do or at least they definitely did at some point or at least they and then and they probably still should

Timothy Sullivan: 1:34
Yeah, yeah, so we were on location with our mobile podcasting setup, which we set up for the first time, and we were literally smack dab in the middle of a sake festival outside.

John Puma: 1:50

Timothy Sullivan: 1:51
we’re, we’re, we’re painting a picture here for our listeners of challenging our audio setup was.

John Puma: 1:57
Yeah, so, so in the past, like, we have done our show outside of our homes exactly twice. And both times were at sake bar decibel when it was pretty much closed. And it was just like us sitting in a booth with electricity, you know, with power in the room, in the booth with us and recording a podcast kind of the same way we would here. And so we had so many more, um, so many more factors to deal with this time. We had the fact that we’re outdoors. And so the elements, the, um, the electricity was, Quite a ways from us. We had to, like, run a really long extension cord to, uh, to get anything at all, uh, and then we had to try and get four microphones, settled around a table while keeping everybody away from the Virginia sun.

Timothy Sullivan: 2:58

John Puma: 3:00
Yes, it was a challenge. It was a lot.

Timothy Sullivan: 3:01
Yes. And there were taiko drums in the background that went on forever.

John Puma: 3:07
Taiko drums and a taiko drum lesson.

Timothy Sullivan: 3:10
Yes. Yeah, so we, I will say this, John, we learned a lot taking Sake Revolution on the road.

John Puma: 3:16
Oh, yes.

Timothy Sullivan: 3:17
Yes. Well, we’re going to have a series of episodes from this craft sake festival. So it was hard on our microphones, but it was great for our content.

John Puma: 3:33
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. So yes, as you mentioned we this is a series the last episode of the show was us on stage with uh with Blake and with Todd And we had a great time doing that Uh, and then the rest of these episodes that we’re going to be doing including today’s episode is our our episodes that we recorded at our booth and we, uh, we have a grand total of four more episodes coming. So today is one of those. So it’ll be five in total. Um, and we’ve got, um, yeah, a nice little, uh, nice little group of brewers that came over. I think, I think we had a lot of fun doing these. Um, yeah. And so, uh, do you want to like, let people know what we’re doing this week?

Timothy Sullivan: 4:15
So for today, we are going to be playing for you in just a minute our interview with Justin LeVaughn from The Void Sake Company in Lexington, Kentucky.

John Puma: 4:28
Yeah, that’s, um, as mentioned in the, in the interview, it’s, uh, Myshell’s hometown.

Timothy Sullivan: 4:33

John Puma: 4:34
So in my, my home, it’s a very special, uh, we were really rooting for the Void to succeed, I think. So it was really nice to, uh, to be able to have Justin on the show. We’ve. We’ve known him through the discord for a while now, and it was really nice to meet him in person, to actually taste his sake, and to chat with him about like what the scene is like over there,

Timothy Sullivan: 4:55
Yeah. And as you’ll hear in a minute from Justin, they make a lot of unusual sakes too, like non

John Puma: 5:01
And and I think that goes to the idea of like you have to Produce for your market, right? I think that that I think that Um, the area you’re in, the environment you’re in is going to influence a lot of, um, a lot of what you end up making. Uh, so yeah,

Timothy Sullivan: 5:19
Well, uh, we just want to tell our listeners that this was recorded outside in the heat and the bustle and the hustle of a active sake festival. So, uh, pardon our audio for this week, uh, but we really think you’re going to enjoy this interview with Justin from The Void. Right, John?

John Puma: 5:40
I think so. I had a great time doing it. It was a, it was a fun, it was a fun interview.

Timothy Sullivan: 5:44
I agree. So without further ado, let’s take it away.

John Puma: 5:49
Uh, now we’re once again, We are here at the North American Craft Sake Fest, and we have wrangled another brewer to come to our table. So why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself, Justin. Uh,

Justin LeVaughn: 6:00
yeah. So I am Justin LeVaughn, one of the co-owners and the, uh, head brewer at, uh, the Void Sake Company in Kentucky.

John Puma: 6:09
And that’s in, that’s in Lexington, Kentucky,

Justin LeVaughn: 6:10
Yeah. Lexington,

John Puma: 6:11
my, Myshell will not forgive me if I don’t make sure that we specify that. And, how long has the Void been producing sake?

Justin LeVaughn: 6:16
any, uh, we’ve just celebrated our second year, uh, last month, so yeah.

John Puma: 6:22
Spring chickens,

Justin LeVaughn: 6:23
Right. Yeah. So we’re still new to the, uh, to the American sake scene, but um, it’s been a pretty wild ride. We opened up right during the shutdown of the pandemic. And, uh, yeah, initially we were gonna do a kinda like ramen shop, uh, like brew pub kind of sake brewery concept. But when the shutdown happened, we had to pivot and just focus on brewing. But, uh, we’re in the midst of a, kind of an expansion right now. So we just, uh, next week we’re opening up our ramen food truck and looking to expand the brewery a little bit. yeah.

Timothy Sullivan: 6:58
That’s awesome. Now, how did you personally get interested in sake? You don’t just roll out of bed one day and say, I’m gonna open a sake brewery. What was your path? What was your path to discovering sake?

Justin LeVaughn: 7:10
yeah, so, I had had sake before, um, in like hibachi restaurants and stuff like that, but I started home brewing beer, in college for, you know, cheap liquor or cheap booze or whatever, and then realized, It was a hobby that you kept feeding money into. but started out in, beer fermentation and did a bunch of other, like wild fermentations, meads, things like that. And then kind of found my way into working in the commercial beer brewing, scene, uh, as like a, a system brewer and, uh, head of quality control at a local brewery in Lexington. And we just kind of, I just stumbled upon, uh, Koji. We knew kind of about it, but we had done, a beer festival with different Japanese ingredients. And that was kind of our first introduction into Koji making. Um, and then once we got bit by the Koji bug, it just infected us and we,

John Puma: 8:03
And, and there was no turning back? No.

Justin LeVaughn: 8:05
like the last of us, but with Koji. but, uh, no. So we, uh, we kind of fell in love with the process at that point. And then it was kind of one question led to another, led to another down the rabbit hole. And this was probably 2017. Um, we had started doing this and then we kind of brewed sake at home and it tasted pretty good and we just kept refining the process over several years. And along that way we just kind of felt, fell more and more in love with the process and. And then we got to the point where we decided we could open up a sake brewery. So

John Puma: 8:41
that’s not the story we usually hear. That’s awesome.

Justin LeVaughn: 8:44
no. Yeah, it’s, it’s one of those like, like the Beautiful Mind or whatever, like unfolding and whatever. Yeah. So, but it was, it was a, uh, pretty fun process along the way. We’re all fermentation nerds, uh, my, myself and the two other owners. So, and then once we. Settled on kind of the flavors that we’d liked. cause we’d had sake before. And it’s kind of similar to our customers when they come in that they’ve had hot sake, uh, squirted into their mouth at the, hibachi places, uh, or had it with sushi. Um, and then once we started doing that, we started drinking more and more, um, ordering or having sake shipped in. Uh, yeah.

John Puma: 9:23
that’s cool. Now I, I, I can’t help but notice you guys are kind of in the heart of Bourbon County. How, how does. How the locals, uh, accept sake. It’s like, I feel like when I think of Lexington, uh, I think of downtown Lexington as a bourbon bar in every corner.

Justin LeVaughn: 9:37
Uh, one of the things that’s really interesting and cool about Lexington’s, uh, out or in Kentucky or Central Kentucky in general, is the alcohol tourism there. So a lot of bourbon, a lot of bourbon, uh, distillery tours, and actually wine is really big. Kentucky used to be like one of the top 10 wine producing states. Mm-hmm. And then, kind of mid two thousands craft beer started to pick up. So there’s a lot of alcohol tourism in Lexington, and all the drinkers there are more adventurous. So when you tell them about this new beverage that they don’t really know about, they’re willing to try it. And we kind of played off that. And so the reception’s been really good. And also too, in Kentucky, there’s a. I forget how much foreign investment, but a significant amount of foreign investment is actually from Japan. So like Beam Suntory is huge there. We have a Toyota plant pretty close to us, so a lot of people are familiar with it or have had it, you know, once or twice. But, when we tell people like Sake and Kentucky and they’re, they’re willing to give it a shot and. Yeah, so it, and the reception’s been very good. Like people are pleasantly surprised with, uh, with the sake that we’re making and we tell’em it’s, you know, this is craft sake, not just, um, more, I guess mass produced type of sakes that they may be familiar with.

John Puma: 10:55
Nice. Nice.

Timothy Sullivan: 10:57
Now, for you, when you started brewing your own styles, what kind of styles were you most attracted to? And maybe you can tell us a little bit about the types of sake that you’re brewing at your place now.

Justin LeVaughn: 11:10
Yeah, so we, gravitated towards the Nigori styles sake and particularly Junmai, kind of classification. But just the complexity that you can get out of a lot of Nigoris, um, with the different flavors and combinations of flavors that you can get outta stuff. Um, so that’s kind of what hooked us onto sake. And then we started gravitating towards more of the ginjo and Dai ginjo flavors. But we focus, we try to be as approachable as we can to a lot of the, drinkers in our area.’cause sake is so new and it’s more of a niche product, so we try to make it very approachable. And we focus more on the more flavor rich styles of sake like Junmai. And also, um, with our particular style, we, our house yeast is number nine yeast. So that fruitier kind of melon, uh, flavor paired with a more kind of umami and rice-y sake is kind of like the best of both worlds for a lot of people. So you get like a flavor rich sake, but very kind of fruity. So the wine drinkers. Uh, have something to relate to a lot of beer drinkers, uh, with that richness and also some of the fruity styles with, you know, IPAs and things like that.

Timothy Sullivan: 12:22
Do you have a tap room as well?

Justin LeVaughn: 12:25
Yeah. So we initially started just the, the brewery and then once we opened that up then, or started production and distribution, then we kind of converted our brew space into a tap room. So we have a tasting room and a tap room that we have local beers on tap. And, a wide variety of different flavor infused sakes. so like our kind of tagline is where American craft meets Japanese tradition. So a lot of our brewing methods are more, traditional and labor intensive just’cause we’re so small. and because we come from a craft beer background, we try to entice a lot of those drinkers with, different. Flavored infused sakes, things that they’re more familiar with. And then we kind of introduce’em more to the more traditional styles, kind of piecemeal, that way. So, yeah, usually we have about 9 or 10 different sakes on tap. And then, several flavor infused and traditional ones kind of mixed in there. and some lighter carbonated style sakes. For those hot summer days, those

John Puma: 13:27
there are plenty.

Justin LeVaughn: 13:27
yeah, those humid Kentucky summers

Timothy Sullivan: 13:30
so it sounds like you’re doing a fair bit of non-traditional sakes there as well.

Justin LeVaughn: 13:34
Yeah. Yeah. So we, like I said, because we come from a craft beer background and, um, what we fell in love with sake is, especially with the nigori, is, like I said, is the complexity of different flavors and how they all meld together. so it has a nice base that you can do so much with, flavor-wise. for example, which we’re about to try is our, our standard junmai nigori, but we do, a coffee infused, nigori, Tangerine Creamsicle is a popular one. That’s one that we’re pouring, today. banana pudding and just all kinds of crazy flavors. And so kind of our philosophy with that is, Um, we want to showcase the sake, but also pair it with those flavors so they, they come off very bold. but we want those flavors to kind of shine with the sake, um, and kind of compliment each other.

Timothy Sullivan: 14:33
what, what? Is your most popular sake that you’re making at your tap room now

Justin LeVaughn: 14:38
The most popular, so we do of our, like, what I’d call Standard Strength sakes. The, I would say the Tangerine Creamsicle is popular, but when we first opened up, we didn’t have a food truck there and they were pretty sporadic during the pandemic. So, uh, people would come in and you can’t have too many 15 or 13% alcohols without food. So we did a, like a lower ABV like a 5% carbonated sake. We call’em sake seltzers, just’cause they’re very dry, refreshing. But it’s our base sake, cut down to five 5% and flavored. And those are probably the most popular of our sakes. Just’cause like I said, they’re so approachable to people. But, the flavored ones do. Particularly well, but also right behind them are the traditional sakes. So they’re like, the tangerine might be the number one kind of seller. But then Opalescent, our standard nigori is right behind it with our, messenger, which is our standard, filtered junmai.

Timothy Sullivan: 15:36
Have, have you had any Japanese brewers come in and react to something like the orange creamsicle Nigori? What? What’s the reaction been?

John Puma: 15:43
we gotta hear this.

Justin LeVaughn: 15:45
they usually just go, oh, it’s like they’re. You see like, just kind of this excitement light up, because it’s, they weren’t, they weren’t expecting

John Puma: 15:53
Mm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Justin LeVaughn: 15:54
like last night, one of the, uh, owners of Islander Sake we had poured in. So we also do a lot of, all of our, infused stuff is used with like whole, fruit or whole ingredients

John Puma: 16:05

Justin LeVaughn: 16:05
And so we do, a different or a variety of fruit infused sakes. And, uh, we’ll just go to local orchards and do you-picks. So we had a blueberry, tart and we poured it and it’s very purple when it comes out. And so he was, he was very surprised. But, uh, a lot of the reception, it’s been very good with, Japanese nationals and whatnot. Just’cause it’s something different. but it also reminds them of home when they, when they have our sake. So,

John Puma: 16:31
Nice. Now, now American food is known for being very big and bold, the American South particularly. So, um, do you, do you find that when you’re kind of like tuning your sake as you lean, leaning into something that’s gonna stand up to western dishes?

Justin LeVaughn: 16:45
Yeah, so we’ll, kind of our philosophy is like, if we call it tangerine creamsicle, probably should taste like a tan, like a, like a creamsicle

John Puma: 16:52
it probably should

Justin LeVaughn: 16:53
Yeah. So, uh, I mean, we’ll, we’ll go bold with the flavors, but not so bold that you can’t taste the sake

John Puma: 17:01
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Justin LeVaughn: 17:02
it. But yes, we, we tend to go bold, um, and with flavors that they’re familiar with, but then slowly kind of introduce them to more traditional styles.

John Puma: 17:12
So I think we can start talking a little bit more about the sakes in front of us here. So you brought a bottle of the, opalescent. Mm-hmm. Yes. Uh, Junmai Nigori.

Justin LeVaughn: 17:21
yeah. So this is one of our flagship Nigoris. Kind of our regular house rice is, calrose rice, but we also do, get rice from ar, more heirloom rice from Arkansas, particularly Omachi. So we have an Omachi Genshu that we brew. But calrose 70%, milled. And this one for the nigoris We like that kind of rich creamier aspect of it. So it is a little bit of a heavier, thicker nigori, uh, style, but it’s 13%.

John Puma: 17:48
Oh yeah. Okay,

Justin LeVaughn: 17:49
we also, so it’s on the lower side,

John Puma: 17:50
Right, right, right.

Timothy Sullivan: 17:51
all right, well, let’s give it a smell first.

Justin LeVaughn: 17:53

Timothy Sullivan: 17:54
Hmm, it’s got that classic Nigori aroma, little bit yogurty, little bit creamy.

Justin LeVaughn: 18:01

Timothy Sullivan: 18:02
And when I smell this type of sake a little bit heavier, nigori, I always get that hint of pina colada, like a little bit of tropical coconut as well, like a little bit of a coconut.

Justin LeVaughn: 18:13
yeah, that’s what, the number nine yeast, like I said, it doesn’t put off like coconut aromas, but the. I guess when you look at it, it’s very like opaque and white and creamy, and then the brain just says like, screams coconut with the, the fruity esters from the, from the yeast

Timothy Sullivan: 18:29
but when you smell it, do you get that John?

John Puma: 18:31
I do, I do also, you know, he, he did mention creamsicles several times, so I think I have creamsicles in my brain as

Justin LeVaughn: 18:36
I primed you.

John Puma: 18:37
Yes. The power of suggestion,

Timothy Sullivan: 18:40
But to be clear, this is not the Tangerine creamsicle. no. This is

John Puma: 18:44
the, the Nigori

Timothy Sullivan: 18:45
your standard nigori and this is, uh, junmai style. Yeah.

Justin LeVaughn: 18:48

Timothy Sullivan: 18:49
Alright, let’s give it a taste. Cheers.

John Puma: 18:52
Oh, wow.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:53
It’s very clean.

John Puma: 18:55
extremely clean.

Timothy Sullivan: 18:57
I was expecting something that was gonna coat my palate a lot more and be a lot sweeter. And it’s relatively clean and has kinda that dry finish. Yeah. How did you, how did you achieve that.

Justin LeVaughn: 19:07
The bluegrass area in Kentucky is known for, its, its water, but it is a kind of like medium hard water. And so because of that, our fermentations tend to kick off a lot more vigorous, so it lends to a drier product. So instead of fighting that, we just kind of embrace it. And that’s kind of, our, signature, I guess, flavor. But, so we tend to the dryer, side of things, like our favorite beers are a lot of like, lager type beer. So very dry, very clean, crisp. So we try to do that in our sake. So the water, lends to that. And also we do a longer than, uh, traditional junmai fermentations. So we will extend that out and it, we found it lends to a cleaner product. and then, We do a fine, like during pressing, it’s a finer mesh cloth that we’re using that, only lets more of the smaller particulates through it. it’s not chunky. It’s very like light, creamy, uh, almost pillowy, I

John Puma: 20:05
Yeah, this is like the lightest nigori I think I’ve ever had. It’s, it is, and you know, it’s got that, it has that, that it’s, it’s kind of right up your alley. It’s got your, you know, the, the, the Tim signature on it with like a little bit of fruitiness. It’s nice and smooth. Got a nice dry finish. I am very impressed with this. Very surprised.

Justin LeVaughn: 20:24
I’m I’m, very glad.

John Puma: 20:25
Because when you look at it, you’re expecting a lot of, you’re expecting a lot more that nigori so it kind of like threw me for a loop

Timothy Sullivan: 20:31
yeah. Sometimes nigoris, when they’re very thick and very chunky, they can have texture issues like they can, if you’re not used to that chunkiness or that extreme coating on the palate, especially the sweeter it gets, it can really coat your palate. And this is very different from that. This is, like we said, dryer cleaner and it seems very food friendly. So speaking of food from your. Brew pub or from your area, what foods do you recommend your customers pair with? This Nigori Junmai here.

Justin LeVaughn: 21:02
Yeah, so you really, anything we tell people sake pairs with all food, but, uh, particularly like what, personally what I do a lot of, with this is, uh, very rich foods or barbecue, spicy or foods. I’m a huge fan of Memphis style barbecue, so this is kind of my go-to for that. Um, or like, uh, like Thai curry dishes, things like that. Um, or pizza, even pizza. but yeah, very rich, oily, savory type foods, or fish, anything, salads

John Puma: 21:32
If I’d had this blind, I probably would not have identified it as nigori. If I like covered my eyes and had me taste this, I don’t think I would. Tim, what do you think?

Timothy Sullivan: 21:39
Hmm. Yeah, I agree.

John Puma: 21:42
it’s, it’s stealthy. it’s very stealthy. And I, and it, I do think it will hold up to those big flavors then

Justin LeVaughn: 21:46
uh, I’m excited to hear about that’cause I know, uh, you don’t get a very many na on your, on your program and

John Puma: 21:53
he’s a, he’s an observer, Tim. Yes. He knows. He listens. Yeah, we don’t, honestly, I don’t think New York gets a tremendous number of nigori these days. So, it’s interesting to, to, to have and to, um, to be able to taste.

Justin LeVaughn: 22:09
Yeah. And like this is in distribution. I would say this is our most popular sku and that’s with the kind of tangerine, creamsicle and flavor uh, nigoris. Uh, so a lot of, Japanese restaurants that we, partner with, this is one of their best sellers.

John Puma: 22:25
nice. And do you, do you find that you, um, you partner mostly with, Japanese restaurants or you, do you have like a, a broader, are you getting this in like, in front of people who are having burgers, for example?

Justin LeVaughn: 22:34
yes, both, I guess. Yeah. So we try to tell people it’s like, you know, you don’t have to have this with sushi or anything. You can have it with other foods. So there’s, several, In Lexington, particularly in Louisville, which is, a little bit on the, further north of us along the river, um, like fusion, like American fusion type restaurants that serve this with burgers and, and other like more American type style foods.

John Puma: 22:59
Nice. I think this will go quite nicely with a burger in my opinion.

Timothy Sullivan: 23:04
Definitely. So you mentioned distribution a moment ago. For our listeners who may be interested in trying, where are you distributed right now? Where can people find your sake? sakeet I.

Justin LeVaughn: 23:13
Right now, uh, just within the state of Kentucky, but we, do use an online distributor called Vino Shipper. Um, a lot of, yeah, people may be familiar with that. So if you just go to our website, there’s, a link for instate and out of state you just go to outstate, then it sends you to the vino shipper portal. And we have, six different, sake brands, on there as well. So, Our, standard kind of Junmai, clear sake, the nigori, the opalescent, so, and then, a genshu that we do as well. And then a, uh, uh, let’s see, several different flavored ones as well. So I think six in total. Um, and then probably gonna be looking to add more of those or more brands like a wood aged sake, taru sake as well.

John Puma: 23:56
Yeah. I don’t, I don’t think there are too many tar sake is being made domestically. That’s interesting. That’s cool. I like that you guys are getting out there and doing some different stuff.

Justin LeVaughn: 24:03
yeah, and that’s a, it’s, it’s a lot of fun. Like I said, just to play with all the, the great flavors, so like the umami and the, the savoriness of it just lends itself to pair with literally anything. And you can play around. It’s, it, it’s a nice kind of playground, if you will, to, to experiment on. Mm-hmm.

Timothy Sullivan: 24:22
What does the future hold for the void sake brewery? What? What are your plans for the upcoming months and years that we should look out for?

Justin LeVaughn: 24:30
so next week, I guess from, from recording today, We are opening a, a ramen food truck, so kind of realizing our original plan. So we’re doing that, have dedicated food on site. Um, it’s kind of early in the works, but we’re looking to expand the taproom and the brewery. yeah, so we’re growing. We’ve outgrown our current space now and looking to, offer, more space for customers and also to help, With production a little bit more, but we’re also, we’ve also kind of cultivated a local music scene with, kind of like bluegrass and amateur, musicians as well. And then let’s see what else we doing? Oh, we’re starting to kind of expand more of our traditional styles, so we’ve kind of nailed down our processes for. Uh, very clean Junmais and kind of going into like ginjo and Daiginjo realms.

John Puma: 25:21
So big things are coming. That’s awesome. it. alright, so where can people find the void sake?

Justin LeVaughn: 25:28
we are on all the social medias. Well, mainly Facebook, Instagram, so you can look us up on the Void sake and, the TheVoidSake.com. For. Any updates or, sakes to purchase and things like that.

John Puma: 25:39
That’s great. And then, uh, yeah, of course if you’re in town, go to Lexington. It’s not just about bourbon, apparently. They’ve also got a really nice sake brewery. Nowt.

Justin LeVaughn: 25:46
Oh, thank you.

John Puma: 25:47
Thank you so much for coming by.

Justin LeVaughn: 25:48
It was a pleasure. I really enjoyed this.

Timothy Sullivan: 25:50
Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us and we’ll uh, look forward to having you on again in the future. Thank you so

Justin LeVaughn: 25:57
Thank you very much. Yeah,

John Puma: 26:01
Ah, Tim, that was fun as promised, as promised. That was a lot of fun.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:06
We’re back, we’re back to the future.

John Puma: 26:09
and as we mentioned, uh, at the, at the head of this, like, um, there was definitely some breweries that we tasted that we’d never had before, and the Void is one was 100% one of those. I still think about that sake a little bit. Like the idea of it had that like really, really deep nigori look to it, but, but didn’t have that a, a lot of the, the. The, um, texture that you associate with nigori. I thought that was really interesting how they were able to accomplish that. Uh, it was just a really tasty sake. I think I mentioned it’s very, like, it’s very tim in my mind because it’s got that, like, that light fruitiness and that dry finish. I was like, oh, wait a minute.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:48
yeah, it was surprisingly clean. I have to admit going into it, I was a little anxious that their sakes were going to be too way off in left field for me, but

John Puma: 26:59
Mm hmm.

Timothy Sullivan: 26:59
eminently drinkable and really clean,

John Puma: 27:03
Um, so yeah, thank you guys at home for listening. Um, we got three more of these to come. We’ll, uh, we’ll talk a little bit next time about who we have in each episode. Uh, Well. Um, I had a great time,

Timothy Sullivan: 27:18
Yeah, I had a great time too, and we do want to thank our listeners so much again for tuning in. Uh, If you’re enjoying Sake Revolution and these on site podcasts that we’re beaming out to you, consider joining our Patreon. It’s a wonderful community we have there, and it’s a great way to support the show.

John Puma: 27:38
and I want to say one thing about before we go any further with that, Tim, we got to meet a lot of listeners that we’d never met before.

Timothy Sullivan: 27:44
That was amazing.

John Puma: 27:46
That was really great. Uh, thank you to everyone who took a moment to come up to us and say hi and, and tell us that you listened to the show that like, you know, it was, it was hot. It was uncomfortable. We were working really hard and that made, I mean, it made, it made my day. It really did. It was really great to hear.

Timothy Sullivan: 28:05
110% agree.

John Puma: 28:06
Yeah, yeah, yeah. so on that note, please grab a glass. Remember to keep drinking sake, okay? And

Timothy Sullivan: 28:13