Episode 95 Show Notes

Episode 95. Listen at SakeRevolution.com. Sitting down with another U.S. sake brewer, this week John and Timothy interview Steve Vuylsteke, CEO of SakeOne sake brewery in Oregon. Steve has an extensive background in Oregon wine, not only having grown up in a winery and but also having lead several wineries as CEO over the years. Fate brought Steve to SakeOne in 2009 and since then he’s guided the company through the rapid growth of the craft sake movement in the U.S. What’s it like to transition from promoting Oregon Pinot Noir to Oregon Junmai Ginjo? Steve shares with us a bit of his journey from grapes to rice. To explore one of SakeOne’s offerings, the guys taste a special sake together – Naginata Junmai Daiginjo, the Crown Jewel of SakeOne’s portfolio. It features American grown Yamadanishiki and a limited production run of only 600 bottles per year. Listen in and let’s learn about one of the original craft sake breweries in the States – SakeOne. #SakeRevolution

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

Skip to: 01:39 Interview: Steve Vuylsteke, CEO SakeOne Sake Brewery

SakeOne CEO Steve Vuylsteke
About Steve Vuylsteke from SakeOne’s website:
Steve’s roots in Oregon and in the wine industry run deep. A native Oregonian, Steve’s parents founded Oak Knoll Winery – one of Oregon’s pioneering wineries – in 1970. After graduating in 1981 with a Bachelors Degree in Business and Marketing from Portland State University, he formally joined the family winery as Sales & Marketing Director. He successfully transitioned the winery from a fruit & berry winery to a Pinot Noir & Pinot Gris focused company and took over managing the company as its President & CEO in 1988. Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Steve tirelessly worked to promote Oregon wine as a product and Oregon wine country as a destination. During these years he served as Board President of the Washington County Visitors Association, Board President of the Washington County Winery Association, Board President of the International Pinot Noir Celebration, Steering Committee Chairman of the Salud Oregon Pinot Noir Auction, and as Treasurer of the Oregon Wine Marketing Coalition.

In 2002 Steve moved on to Erath Vineyards Winery as its General Manager/Sales Manager. Four years later the winery had nearly tripled in size and was purchased by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2006. During his stint at Erath, he served as Board President of Oregon Pinot Camp, and as a Board member of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. After spending a year consulting for several Oregon wineries he joined Corus Estates & Vineyards in 2008 as General Manager of its 12th & Maple Wine Company – a state-of-the-art custom crush facility in Dundee, Oregon. With the desire to return to a leadership position, Steve accepted the role of President & CEO of SakéOne Corporation in August 2009.

SakeOne Brewery in Oregon
About SakeOne:
Established in 1992 as a premium Japanese saké importer, SakéOne has committed to exclusively importing some of the finest Japanese saké offerings from producers representing many of Japan’s acclaimed saké producing prefectures.

In 1997 SakéOne tapped into the idyllic waters of the Willamette Valley and exclusive rice grown in the renowned Sacramento Valley and began brewing saké in Forest Grove, Oregon. With an uncompromised spirit to produce the highest quality saké possible, SakéOne soon became America’s first successful craft saké producer. Twenty-three years later, Master Brewer Takumi Kuwabara continues to expand on that brewing expertise, melding a diversity of cultures into dynamic award-winning handcrafted saké. From the very beginning, SakéOne has been committed to broadening the enjoyment of premium Japanese and American saké worldwide.

SakeOne Website: https://sakeone.com
SakeOne Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sakeoneoregon
SakeOne Twitter: https://twitter.com/SakeOne
SakeOne Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SakeOneOregon

Skip to: 18:23 Sake Introduction and Tasting: SakeOne Naginata Junmai Daiginjo

SakeOne Naginata Junmai Daiginjo

Alcohol: 15.5%
Brewery: SakeOne
Classification: Junmai Daiginjo
Prefecture: Oregon, USA
Seimaibuai: 40%
SMV: +2.0
Rice Type: Yamadanishiki (USA)
Brand: Naginata

view on SakeOne.com

Skip to: 31:46 Show Closing

This is it! Join us next time for another episode of Sake Revolution!

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Episode 95 Transcript

[00:00:00] John Puma: Hello, everybody. And welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first sake podcast. And I’m your host, John Puma from the Sake Notes. Also the administrator over at the internet, Sake Discord, your one-stop shop for all chitchat sake related and around these parts. I’m the guy who gets excited about the sake. That’s not true. We both get excited about the sake. Okay,

[00:00:46] Timothy Sullivan: And, I am your host Timothy Sullivan. I’m a Sake Samurai, 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.

[00:01:04] John Puma: That is right Tim. And, uh, I believe we were a little, we’re a little overdue. Let me just, what my notes say. We’re a little overdue for a guest.

[00:01:14] Timothy Sullivan: Yes, we are going to have a VIP again in the studio today, and we’re going back to our series on American sake brewers.

[00:01:24] John Puma: Excellent. That is, uh, that’s. That might be one of our first series, maybe our second series, but it was one of the originals of when we first started doing this. And, uh, for me, uh, being, uh, being a, an American, exciting one.

[00:01:38] Timothy Sullivan: Yes. Well, let me introduce our guests. Uh, we are so excited today to welcome Steve Vuylsteke to the show. He’s a native of Oregon and he has grown up in the wine business. And has worked in many aspects of the wine industry from production to sales and marketing, to even leading wineries as a CEO over the years, he has also served as a board member or board president on numerous committees, associations and coalitions, working hard to promote craft beverages from Oregon. In 2009, Steve took on a new challenge and became the president and CEO of Oregon’s SakeOne Sake Brewery. Steve. We’re so happy to have you on welcome to the show.

[00:02:20] Steve Vuylsteke: Hey, thank you very much. Great to be here. Always liked to talk about this. Nihonshu. Spend a lot of our time with, if you’re in my, my position, so great here. Thank you.

[00:02:34] John Puma: Oh, that’s good. Because if you weren’t ready to talk about sake, we’ve been a little bit of trouble. Tim mentioned in your introduction that you went from working in wine, uh, and then later moved on to sake. So what, brought that transition on.

[00:02:50] Steve Vuylsteke: Well, I was born and raised in Oregon wine. Literally my parents founded one of the original pioneer wineries in the state in 1970, there were four wineries. I was 10 years old. So after school I’d come home and put labels on wine bottles and, and, it was kind of the cool thing to do if you’re six or seventh grade that evolved to, uh, studying business, uh, getting a degree really in business. That’s my family winery. And then, uh, really embarked on, uh, the mission of, trying to establish a place in the globe wide market for Oregon wine. And of course back then there wasn’t an industry per se, and people didn’t know even that wine has made an Oregon. So, as I. Got, out of college and started doing sales and marketing for the, for the company then eventually ran the company for 14 years. I got to work alongside many of the, the pioneers, the David led Dick Ponzi, uh, Dickie Wrath and a host of others, even though I was second generation. So, really got to be out in the market. try to convince people to, to drink a beverage that they really didn’t know a lot about. Uh, a variety of Pinot Noir why they didn’t know a lot about, but I think you might say the rest is history cause there’s about 900 wineries now in the state of Oregon. And of course, hard to find a wine list without an Oregon Pinot Noir on it. But I, I really wasn’t planning to leave the wine business, I was managing. Other pioneer winery E wrath winery did that for about six years. And then the owner Dickie Wrath sold the winery. He and my position became kind of redundant. So I did some different things consulting. And then I was managing a custom crush winery for a year and a half, but it really wasn’t the same. and you know, Oregon has made up mostly of small family wineries and he wrath was quite sizable. So there really wasn’t a role for me to just slide into. And so by happens, dancer, a recruiter called me and said, Hey, if you’re looking for something, I got something that might be interesting for you. And, and so I said, well, what, what, what are you talking about? And he said, well, it’s, I can’t really tell you what it is. All I can tell you is it’s, it’s an adult beverage. That sounds kind of dirty almost.

[00:05:13] John Puma: the first role was he wasn’t allowed to talk about it. The second rule was he wasn’t allowed to talk about it.

[00:05:17] Steve Vuylsteke: Yeah. So anyway, I eventually pieced together what, what he was talking about and I thought, you know, that’s interesting. I didn’t know a lot about sake at the time. I’d actually came here a couple of times, in fact, one of my growers who was growing grapes for me was the general contractor that built sake. I actually toured the facility. He took me over, he drove me over here. Uh it’s it’s literally a, you know, nine miles from my house. It was another nice thing. And then he turned around and I was looking around going, what is a Cedar line room right here in the middle of the Koji? it a sauna for the employees? And, uh, so what a crazy happenstance that, um, you know, that was 1997, Um, and then I, I started here in 2009, so who would have, I never would’ve dreamed it, that take on this endeavor of, of, uh, running, uh, you know, America’s original craft sake brewery. Um, but, um, I jumped in with both feet and, uh, talk more about the, about the company. So

[00:06:24] Timothy Sullivan: Wow. Awesome. So you got headhunted for sake. I love that. So, you know, you know, the wine industry really well. And of course now, you know, the sake industry. Well, I’m curious to ask you from your point of view, what do you think are the biggest differences between the way the wine industry works and the way the sake industry works.

[00:06:43] Steve Vuylsteke: Well, the first thing I’ve told people, because believe me, a lot of people said, do you really like what you’re doing now? And I said, Well, actually I said, hell yeah, I do. I’ve been here 12 years. Uh, you know, but actually in stuff ways, you know, from, you know, when you’re managing a sake brewery, of course, no different than a winery you’re managing, you know, how much, how much product do I make? How do I forecast it? How do I get people to get interested in it? You know, all the things that, that, that, that you have to do. And you know, when after managing wineries for so many years, I found that in the world of sake, because unlike wine, where you get one chance a year to make your wine in the fall harvest, we brew year round. So it actually is much more conducive to managing, uh, and projecting sales and projecting how much you need to make. So it’s not like the, I always said, you know, projecting wine sales. It’s like, you got a dart board and you’re throwing a dart trying to figure out, you know, how much, how many grapes should I buy? Should I grow? How much wine should I make? Because with wine and know some of the varieties, particularly Pinot Noir you know, you’re not just making it and selling it the next day it’s, uh, it, you know, there’s, there’s a, there’s a time, time difference there. So, really what I found initially was it, you know, I jumped in, I needed to understand all the idiosyncrasies that go into making fine sake. Uh, I knew that once it was in the ball, You know, we, we sell through much of the same channels that we do for wine

[00:08:23] Timothy Sullivan: Hm.

[00:08:24] Steve Vuylsteke: you know, the same network of distributors for the most part. Um, so, that part, that part was really the easier part. Um, although not unlike trying to get a distributor to really get behind selling Oregon Pinot Noir. Uh, in the early days, uh, 20 the distributor behind sake, which is like a quarter of 1% of the wine market. So it’s at the tiny slice, but our job is get, get the distributor excited about it and, and hopefully move on from.

[00:08:54] John Puma: Um, tell us a little bit more about SakeOne. I think that, like one of the unique aspects of this company is that not only do you guys produce sake in Oregon, but you also import, which is a little unusual for the craft sake scene in the United States. So tell us a little bit about that.

[00:09:14] Steve Vuylsteke: Sure. Well, the company was really founded with the idea that it would be the first to really focus on Ginjo grade sake, there’s plenty of sake being made in California, but primarily Junmai. With the primary focus being to serve as, as warm sake in Japanese restaurants, so the idea of kind of going up that next level of quality and, and of course, you know, the whole concept of, of serving it, promoting chilled sake was, was new. so I, I certainly commend the founders, Tohru Murai, who is the CEO of Momokawa brewing of Japan at the time 33rd largest sake brewery in Japan located up in the, Aomori prefecture up in the Northern part of Honshu, the island, and then a local entrepreneur, Grif Frost, who by happenstance met Tohru in Japan and they struck up a friendship. So. they really had kind of the Genesis of the idea of is the American market ready for better quality sake. And, you know, they, they, the company is really founded in 1992. However, the brewery didn’t get completed until about 1997. So they actually, the company actually imported case from Momokawa brewing in Japan in those early years and kind of got, got their feet wet. So the company actually started as an import company but the real, the real direction was for us for it to be a craft brewery, it’s almost, Embarrassing to say, but it was probably a little bit ahead of its time then. Uh, because even when I started in 2009, I’d run across people that had all these misnomers about what they thought sake was. One, of course it’s only served warm or as a sake bomb or two oh, all sake is made in Japan and it’s like, oh, great. This is like trying to, to sell Oregon Pinot noir all over, you know, it’s like you have to educate people about what, what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and why, why should someone drink sake made in Oregon?

[00:11:27] Timothy Sullivan: it was interesting. You mentioned that you thought. The idea of building this brewery and making Ginjo Sake in the U S was maybe a little bit before its time. But in the past few years, we’ve really seen growth in the domestic sake, a brewing industry. A lot of breweries are opening up each year and kind of putting the pandemic and all that aside for a moment. What do you think are the consumer trends and kind of. sake industry trends that you’ve been seeing in the last couple years, kind of tied to this growth overall, a new breweries.

[00:12:04] Steve Vuylsteke: I think to a great extent, we owe the interest, the growing interest in the fact that some of the emerging demographics that are drinking, you know, once you turn 21, maybe between 21 and 35, if you will, they’re they’re not like sort of my generation but maybe my parents’ generation where maybe you only drank. you know gin and tonic or, or whiskey or, or, you know, you drank beer, you really didn’t bounce around and try, try a lot of different beverages. And, uh, the younger demographics in America certainly are very open to experimenting with different beverages. And, I don’t think our company necessarily, I mean, our company has done a tremendous job, I think, of, of educating in America, but it really takes more than one company. Um, and, and I think when, when you start looking at how the craft beer industry has evolved, where they’re, they’re making every kind of beer on the planet, lots of experimentation. it’s interesting. You know, when I, when I joined sake, think we thought that we needed to convince wine drinkers to drink sake. And we sort of pounded our heads on, in that direction for a long, long time. And then it, it kind of, we started kinda just started figuring out that, wait a minute, the consumers are like beer, like lots of different types of beer. They always liked the new things that are coming out from these crafts, and so that’s sort of dovetailed into, wait a minute. We need to really engage maybe more of the beer drinkers, the younger ones, especially, and we found a very willing audience. And so that was very enlightening. And I think, um, you know, we certainly being sort of the old guard, if you will, of, of craft brewers in America, craft sake brewers w we had a lot of people stopping by asking questions. a lot. of these small startups and they’re, they’re just selling those little seeds of interest in the category locally, which we did here in the Portland area. And, the, the per capita consumption of sake here in Oregon is, is in the highest in the countries. Uh, I mean, we know once you put a good product out there, people get excited about it for all the reasons that we all know about sake. so it’s fun to open the doors and see what, see what happens.

[00:14:36] John Puma: Hmm. Uh, so on that topic, tell us a little bit about the sake that you guys are producing domestically, you know, brands and styles Tim and I am sure have, had quite a few experiences with them, but I want you to kind of tell our listeners what they should be looking out for.

[00:14:50] Steve Vuylsteke: Oh, you bet. Well, because the company was founded by the family that, that had MoMA caliber brewing in Japan. They made the decision early on that, that the primary flagship brand, they would use the Momokawa name. Here in America. So that’s been the flagship brand since, since day one, just the first batches in 1997. geez I say that and I go that’s I was like, almost, 25 years ago, you know, we’ve been brewing it’s it’s it’s good. It’s quite something, so that, that brand remains our flagship and we do make a variety of styles under the Momokawa brand from. Sort of a dry Tokubetsu Junmai style to, uh, the technically they’re all Junmai Ginjos cause they’re all polished to 58%, um, before, before brewing. Um, but then we’ve got a, uh, our diamond Junmai Daiginjo is our top selling sake. Um, it’s that, not dry, not sweet, just very well-balanced. Kind of a Jack of all trades sake for us. Um, that’s what we introduce people to, if they’ve never had it, just to see where they are and then we do it a nigori, uh, called Pearl. we have two organic Junmai Ginjos one clear one nigori, um, we are USDA certified organic as well. Oh, and then we, couple of years ago we started releasing a, actually two sakes in cans. So we’ve got a Momokawa. Junmai Ginjo and then a new brand called Yomi the other brand that was started very early on was moonstone, to our knowledge, uh, SakeOne we were the. sake brewery to actually infuse in our case, a Junmai ginjo sake and then infuse it with natural essences, Asian pear Plum, coconut Lemongrass through the year it’s early on.

[00:16:49] Steve Vuylsteke: They did, they actually had a hazelnut, peach. we’ve tried some different other things, but really, I think the, the necessity, there was to… We know when people come by our tasting room, a lot of them is the first time they’d ever been to sake tasting room. And for many of them never had sake outside of maybe that warm sake in, in a Japanese restaurant.

[00:17:10] Steve Vuylsteke: So these are sort of like entry levels, giving them some, some elements of the beverage that they could kind of go, oh, I get that pear flavor. Oh, this is kind of has sake sort of in the background. And then, Our G brand was started in about 2007. And the idea was we would make something very American looking in American tasting. the G stands for, Genshu against you and Daiginjo, but at 18% it really provided more of that bold in your face type of style that, we always think about. You know, what, what kind of foods we as Americans eat versus say, the Japanese would eat and, you know, our flavors tend to be much bolder. You think about barbecue and spice elements and sets. So the G sake really is one that can really stand up to those bolder flavors. And, uh, that was sort of the idea behind it. Also, we came up with a very unique package. You wouldn’t probably mistake it for anything that came from Japan. So that was sort of our, you know, let’s, let’s kind of wave the American flag and say, this is something that’s different, but it still follows the tradition of, Japanese sake brewing. If you will.

[00:18:23] Timothy Sullivan: Great. Awesome. Well, thank you for that overview of all the different brands you have, but it would not be an episode of Sake Revolution. If we did not have a tasting. So we’ve asked you to prepare one of your very special bottles. And this is a sake that John and I also got our hands on. Uh, and we would love to taste this with you and have a little back and forth about a little bit how it came to be. And, let me introduce this sake. We’re going to be tasting the Naginata Junmai Daiginjo. This is a sake made with Yamada nishiki grown in Arkansas milled to 40% remaining. The alcohol is 15.5 and we have an SMV that sake meter value of plus two. Now, before. Before we pour the sake and taste it, we have to talk about this bottle. Our listeners can look at our show notes and see a photo of the bottle, but tell us about this very unique bottle and label and design for this. How did that come about?

[00:19:31] Steve Vuylsteke: Well of course the, the idea of the sake came way before the bottle. And, uh, we had been working, uh, I would say for at least three or four years before we finally said, okay, we can hang our hat on this sake, the brewery was, set up really as a ginjo brewery. So I, I think my confidence level went way high. three years ago when we were fortunate to have a new Toji arrive, Takumi Kuwabara spent time both in Japan and California brewing at, uh, over 25 years of brewing experience. And so we have been trying to, first of all, find the Yamada Nishiki rice that we could start with on this Daiginjo product of that project.

[00:20:24] Steve Vuylsteke: And interestingly, besides the, the, the, the, the rice from Arkansas, there’s also Yamada Nishiki now growing in California. we, we brewed a whole bunch of different, uh, test batches, very small batch. Try different mill rates, 50 45, 40 different yeasts, and finally we said, Oh, this, this is it. And, and so of course we wanted to have a bottle that really set it apart.

[00:20:52] Steve Vuylsteke: And so we want. You know, Americans, I think for the most part, when you look at a bottle like what the Naginata is in my thing, more spirits than sake, but we wanted to find a very unique shape, uh, and, and unique color and a unique presentation that really said, this is, this is craft in spades. You would never think that this was mass-produced and it’s certainly not.

[00:21:21] Steve Vuylsteke: We make 600 bottles at a time. So it’s very, very small production. Uh, Takumi comes in every single day, like 40 days in a row. He’s always checking, you know, checking all the, all the specs, so the name Naginata is, actually is a Japanese pole sword. If you will, a sword on the end of a pole, which was primarily used by actually by, by women in Japan. So, we kind of thought that name sort of has some interesting significance because you might say we’re a sake brewery here in America. We’re making what we think is a sake comparable to what’s made in Japan. And so we can kind of poke the Japanese a little bit the Naginata sword, but of course the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

[00:22:12] Steve Vuylsteke: And, uh, we, we are delighted with the way that the sake turned in. I certainly want to give a tip of the hat to Chris Isbell, who is the grower of the rice in Arkansas? I could go on and on, but Chris actually sold rice to Sakeone back in 1997,

[00:22:31] John Puma: Wow.

[00:22:32] Steve Vuylsteke: it was not Yamada Nishiki It was, a medium grain Arkansas rice. but that really failed because. When sake, what started, they thought we’re going to have our own grain style and we’re going to, we’re going to do everything. We’re going to be able to take, take the Hulls off and everything. And that’s, that’s, that’s a whole thing unto itself. So long story short, uh, Chris took an interest in growing Japanese, sake rice a number of years ago. And so, um, uh, I’ve had the pleasure of going and seeing his, his rice farm in the. Town outside the town of England, Arkansas of all places. And so between the name and the bottle, and of course the liquid, um, we were, we were just excited to put something out that we think represents some of the best sake ever made in America.

[00:23:27] Timothy Sullivan: With that buildup, we have to, we have to get it in the glass right now. So we’re going to go ahead and pour this. Hmm, beautiful.

[00:23:36] John Puma: Yeah.

[00:23:38] Timothy Sullivan: It’s very gentle and super balanced. The fruits that come through are soft and there’s a hint of floral notes as well.

[00:23:48] John Puma: Yes. Lots of nice fruit on this. A lot of that melon now we’d love to talk about,

[00:23:52] Timothy Sullivan: Yep. ripe melon. Yeah.

[00:23:55] John Puma: and it’s not wafting from the other room. It is in the room with her.

[00:23:59] Timothy Sullivan: very, very, uh, I call this type of aroma restrained elegance. It’s like, uh, doesn’t overpower or come off too perfumed, but just the right amount to engage your senses and get you started. Just love it.

[00:24:17] Steve Vuylsteke: Thank you. You know, I sometimes catch myself going that there’s some real parallels between this style of sake and really good Oregon Pinot noir because it’s easy. It’s, it’s almost easy to make a wine. That’s got a really big nose to it. Lots of, you know, just bills out of the glass. If you want to enjoy it all the way through, restraint and elegance has a place. And I found interesting the comments you made about the nose, because I use those, those same descriptors for the palate impression. And to me, great, Pinot Noir is really about how the texture is on the palate and a sake like this, it’s just, it just feels good in your mouth, on your palate as, as, a sake gets absorbed.

[00:25:05] Timothy Sullivan: all right, let’s give it a sip. Um, very smooth and. I’m finding it has just, just a touch, just a note of sweetness on the front palate and it finishes nice and dry, but it’s not, it’s not starting dry. There’s, there’s a fullness and a richness, those wonderful fruit flavors come through, but it gives me just a, just a slight note of sweetness at the beginning. And then it finishes balanced and dry. Really a lovely, super premium, uh, flavor. Really, really good.

[00:25:49] John Puma: That dry finish is something that we, uh, like to talk about on the show as being something that becomes inviting again for your next sip. Cause it’s kind of resetting you and then you get to go on the journey all over again. It’s not, it doesn’t hang around. It leaves it when it leaves you with that dry finish, it really cleans the palate, leaves it open field for you to next, your next bite of food. Your next sip of sake. Really nice.

[00:26:13] Steve Vuylsteke: Absolutely. You know, I that’s that’s spot on if it’s too heavy, if you own the finish, then it, I mean, I personally liked the length it’s it does have length, but it doesn’t just, it’s not hanging on your palate. It does you feel the drawing on your palate and that that’s exactly what we had in mind when we think about, you know, food pairings.

[00:26:35] John Puma: And speaking of food, what do we think about pairings with this? I know this is a Daiginjo and sometimes people like to kind of make this more of a sipping thing. You know, it’s well documented that I have my couch. I like to sip sake on not necessarily eating while I do that. But you know, we do have to, we do have to give some credit to the pairings.

[00:26:53] Steve Vuylsteke: Well, I’ll throw a couple things out there for sure. I mean, th th that the first one that comes to mind being from the Pacific Northwest is, is some really good, like king salmon.

[00:27:08] John Puma: Ooh.

[00:27:09] Steve Vuylsteke: That’s done well. I mean, the king salmon, little higher oil content in the fish, certainly rich, but you can if it’s, and to me, I’m a stickler. You don’t want to over cook it. know, if it’s cooked properly, then I think a sake like this with that little bit of dryness and the finish really is a good foil for, for cutting through the, uh, the, oily texture of the salmon. And so that’s that immediately comes to mind.

[00:27:39] John Puma: Uh,

[00:27:40] Timothy Sullivan: Um,

[00:27:41] Timothy Sullivan: well, this sake has really good balance and really good. Um, incorporation of the sweetness, the alcohol and the acidity there. They’re just in harmony. I think of sakes like this as a stool with three legs. If one of them was out of balance, you’d fall off the stool, but this one keeps you supported in a really wonderful position. And when I have a sake like this, I think of more pure pairings, like sashimi because it’s more about the freshness of the ingredients or that type of a purity really lets the food shine. So sashimi is. Something that really popped to mind when I was sipping this and something that’s delicate and really showcases the ingredients.

[00:28:31] John Puma: I really love the idea of that salmon. I’m leaning a little bit more. With the lighter sashimi, because I really want to share this. I really love the flavor with this. I don’t want to do anything. That’s going to be a little, it’s going to be too strong. I’m always very skiddish. Uh, when it comes to my pairings, I’m always very nervous about introducing anything too strong with it, I would personally lean lighter, but that’s just because I’m, I’m a wuss about that sort of thing.

[00:28:54] Steve Vuylsteke: Well, I guess I’ve, you know, I’ve always been a promoter by region, so we’re putting the salmon in there, but I tell you, one of those memorable meals I’ve had was in, Hachinohe, in Aomori, um, brewery there, they make some of the best Daiginjo is in Japan. And they had a very exclusive one. I was at a meal there one evening and they had it with sashimi scallops from, from, Aomori, and, oh my goodness. Um, that, that was a match made in heaven. Absolutely. Uh, because of the first name is of those fresh scallops with that, that just wonderful match with the daiginjo.

[00:29:40] Timothy Sullivan: Fantastic. Well, this has been such a pleasure. It’s been great to talk to you about your background, how you got into sake. What’s been going on with your brewery and to taste this amazing ultra-premium sake with you. It’s been just fantastic. So thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it.

[00:29:58] Steve Vuylsteke: oh, my pleasure. I love where sake is going in this country, as a category. Whether it’s what we make, what we import this last year. We’ve had a watershed year, and I think, you know, what’s interesting. It’s not just pockets of interest now in sake, like in New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco or Portland, Oregon last year 48 out of the 50 states that we sell in had big increases in.

[00:30:24] John Puma: Hmm.

[00:30:25] Steve Vuylsteke: 48 out of 50. So they’re there. I won’t name the two states that were but it really speaks to, I think the emergence of, of this category and the fact that, um, folks can find out about it much easier than maybe 20 years ago, you know, with, with, with social media, with the internet, it’s, it’s easier to get your head wrapped around what it is. So I applaud, both you and Jim for hosting me and having this forum, because this, this is what it’s all about. Getting, getting more people interested and excited about it because I never dreamed that sake would have such a profound effect, on, on my career. And, and my ability now to just be able to wax about it, it’s just, it’s, it’s always a pleasure. So, so thank you for the opportunity.

[00:31:11] Timothy Sullivan: All right now, before we go, uh, if our listeners want to learn more about sake, one, where can they find you online? Where should they go?.

[00:31:20] Steve Vuylsteke: Simple. SakeOne.com s-a-k-e-o-n-e. We’ve got a brand new website coming out in about two weeks, but, um, do do check us out. We, we really do a lot of work to educate through our, through our site. So even if you’re, you know, kind of a neophyte to sake, um, kind of, we can, you can learn the, you know, the, the basics and then just take off from there.

[00:31:46] Timothy Sullivan: Fantastic. Well, Steve, thank you so much. And I also want to thank our listeners as well for tuning in. We really do hope that you’re enjoying our show. If you would like to show your support for Sake Revolution, the best way to support us now is to join our community on Patreon we’re listener, supported show, and all the support we received from our patrons allows us to host, edit and produce a podcast for you every week.

[00:32:10] John Puma: And if you’d like to know more about the Patreon, you can go ahead and visit Patreon.com/SakeRevolution, Uh, you can also support us by doing things like Leave a review on apple podcasts or your podcast platform of choice. That really goes a long way towards spreading the word about sake revolution. You know, what else does too, telling your friends, tell your family, if they’re interested in getting into sake a little bit, tell them, you know, this show where they can learn a lot.

[00:32:36] Timothy Sullivan: And as always, if you would like to know more about any of the topics or the individual sakes we talked about in any of our episodes, please be sure to visit our website, SakeRevolution.com for all the show notes and a transcript of each and every episode.

[00:32:52] John Puma: And if you’d like to reach out to us directly, or if you’ve got a sake question, burning sake question that you need answered, we want to hear it. Got an email address set up for that it’s [email protected]. and you can also slide into our DMS on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

[00:33:10] John Puma: on Instagram. We are @SakeRevolutionPod and everywhere else. We’re just Sake Revolution. So until next time Please remember to keep drinking Sake and Kanpai.