PR Times carries a press release for THE KAN, a sake made to be drunk like a coffee. Its dry version was very popular when released last year, so Yama no Kotobuki Shuzō have brought it back this year as a way to spend a cosy night in with some atsukan [熱燗, sake heated to around 50°C].

The brewery, based in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, first chose to release THE KAN Karakuchi to retailers in October 2019, just as winter was closing in. Their aim was to give people a new way to enjoy sake on a winter night by heating it.

Heated sake features heavily in Japanese seasonal scenes and poetry about winter, prompting Yama no Kotobuki to bring it back in a more modern form. The 2020 version is made from Yamada Nishiki, which the brewery sees as ideal for junmai sake.

Taking a page out of coffee’s book, the brewery is also positioning the act of preparing the kanzake as part of what makes it enjoyable. Rather than denigrating it as something old-fashioned or fiddly, they’re focusing on its historic nature and promoting it as both delicious and fun, with the heating process as involving as preparing filter coffee.

The sake is mellow with a short finish and easy to pair with food, especially winter oden or sashimi with wasabi shōyu, and works at any temperature from room to 50°C or more. It’s described as kan-agari [燗上がり], getting better as it gets warmer, so you can also enjoy trying it out at different temperatures.

The label also carries a picture of people drinking inside on a winter night, designed by TO2KAKU and illustrated by Ayana Usamura. It also shows one of Fukuoka’s famous regional products, mentaiko [salted cod roe spiced with red pepper].

THE KAN is made from Yamada Nishiki polished to 65%, comes in a 15% abv, and retails for JPY 1,350 for 720 ml and JPY 2,700 for 1.8 L.


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