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SAKETIMES NEWS – Mar 3, 2020

In the news this week: The two great tastes of tequila and umeshu plum wine come together in a new Japan-Mexico collaboration. Then, sad news out of Niigata as the hugely popular Sake no Jin festival is canceled over COVID-19 concerns. Finally, Den Sake gets the star treatment from America’s public broadcaster.


Tequila Umeshu Combines Two National Drinks, with Hopes of Breaking Down Misconceptions in Japan

Mexican distillery Cascahuin and Hijiri Sake have teamed up to bring an interesting fusion of tequila and the sake-based apricot liqueur umeshu. Called Ciruela (Red Label), it went on sale February 19.

The cross-cultural project was facilitated by the world’s first Japanese tequillero, Tetsuo Keida, employed by the 116-year-old Cascahuin. Their method of production could be compared to a junmai ginjo sake in that it uses only 100% agave for a smooth, pure tasting tequila that can easily be enjoyed on the rocks.

Ciruela is an easy-to-drink blend made with high quality umeshu so that it maintains a strong refreshing taste with milder notes of tequila. The collaborators hope the drink will win more tequila fans in Japan, where it generally suffers a reputation as an especially harsh alcohol.

Much like Japan’s laws regarding sake production, Mexico has strict regulations over tequila, making its export a challenge and ensuring that this collaboration has produced a high-quality treasure indeed.

◎Product Information

  • Name: Ciruela (Red Label)
  • Type: Tequila Umeshu
  • Alcohol: 16%
  • Volume: 500mL
  • Release Date: Feb 19, 2020

テキーラ梅酒

LINK: PRTIMES | 2020/2/19 |テキーラ梅酒シルエラ(赤ラベル)を株式会社フィデアが令和2年2月19日発売開始。カスカウィン蒸留所生産のテキーラを用いた梅酒の新ブランド第2弾

Niigata Sake no Jin 2020 Canceled Over Coronavirus Concerns

Major sake festival Niigata Sake no Jin announced that it will cancel this year’s event over COVID-19 concerns.

One of the biggest sake festivals in Japan, in recent years Niigata Sake no Jin has drawn roughly 140,000 people over a span of only two days. Such large gatherings, though, are seeing cancellations the world over in light of the increased risk of spreading the novel virus.

This year’s event was scheduled for March 14 and 15, but after careful consideration by organizers, ticket sales were suspended on February 18. Announcements regarding refunds for advance ticket purchases will be made on the event’s official website.

Disappointing as the news is, Sake no Jin has generated a stellar reputation as one of Japan’s premier sake events and it will surely be back as strong as ever in 2021.

LINK: ねとらぼ | 2020/2/20 |国内最大級の日本酒イベント「にいがた酒の陣2020」が開催中止に 新型コロナの影響で

Den Sake Profiled on PBS Documentary

On February 2, locavore-themed TV program Tastemakers, on the American public broadcaster PBS, aired an episode featuring the highly-acclaimed and trailblazing Den Sake in Oakland, California.

In 27 minutes, host Cat Neville and Den Sake founder Yoshihiro Sako takes us through both the basic process of making sake and what sets his particular brand apart. The program also shows us Den’s relationship with the surrounding sake community such as the liquor store True Sake and other area restaurants big and small.

There is also a look at the Rue & Forsman ranch where Den Sake sources all of its rice. One of the things that make Den Sake unique is that it uses a type of sushi rice rather than a dedicated sake rice, as is done in Japan.

The entire program is both in-depth and very easy to understand, making it a great resource for people new to sake to get acquainted with the beverage. The show is currently streaming on the PBS website.

PBS Tastemakers

LINK: PBS | 2020/2/2 |カリフォルニアのDEN SAKEがアメリカの大きなPBSテレビ局で30分の特集

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