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The Sankei West site reports on two things that bemuse me – making sake more suitable for Instagram, and more appealing to people who haven’t heard of it or don’t drink.

How about blue sake? Pink? Orange? All these and more could be possible thanks to Kimura Shin’ichi, head of the electronic and organic materials research section at the Tottori Institute of Industrial Technology. 

He hopes the coloured sake will be easy on the eye and attract women, young people, foreigners and other segments who aren’t drinking it, and that its visual appeal will increase interest in sake from Tottori. 

Development of three test products was completed in December 2017. Sake from the Chiyo Musubi brewery was mixed with all-natural colouring agent. As the colour was added after brewing the product is treated as a liqueur under Japan’s liquor laws, but a technique to use colour-producing yeast during brewing – keeping it in the “sake” category – is under development.

The research came about as a way to promote Tottori sake. The coloured sake won’t be ready to go on sale for another two or three years, but the experimental liqueur will undergo further testing to ensure quality (e.g. stability for the colour) and go on sale in spring 2018. The flavour of the sake is said not to be affected. Kimura hopes people will drink it in glasses instead of ochoko ceramic cups, and use it for toasts at parties – and anywhere else people are uploading to Instagram.