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The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) site reports on some “101 Sake Educational Sessions” held with the aim of increasing public awareness of sake.

32 people from the American restaurant, bar and hotel industry attended the session held in Atlanta, Georgia on 4 November 2018, and 40 people attended another in Miami, California on 5 November 2018.

The sessions were led by non-Japanese qualified as sake sommeliers, and covered sake basics such as raw materials, brewing, drinking and storing. There was also a tasting where attendees could taste the difference between classes such as junmai daiginjō, junmai and honjōzō, and pairings with several types of cheese to show how sake can go with non-Japanese food.

The speaker in Atlanta talked about ways of marketing sake, including offering smaller sizes that were easier for customers to order, adding English names to the Japanese labels, converting units from ml to fluid ounces, and using wine-style descriptions (e.g. “hint of melon”) instead simpler terms (e.g. “refreshing”).

In both locations, sake distributors brought a wide range of sake after the talk and laid them out on tables so the attendees could try them out and test food pairings to their heart’s content.

Attendee comments included “I can introduce sake to customers with confidence after learning what I have today” and “I want to bring everyone from my shop to these sessions so they can learn”. Attendees from restaurants and bars that do not yet serve sake commented “I was able to learn everything about sake, the brewing process, the different aromas and flavours, all from nothing” and “I want to add sake to our bar’s menu”.