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Culture Discovering Yamaguchi Sake

Discovering Yamaguchi Sake: A Taster’s Guide to Breweries, Culture, and Terrain

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This book is the first of its kind, a deep dive into a single sake-producing region to highlight its delicious brews and the people, land, and culture behind them. Brewing in Yamaguchi — in southern Honshu, Japan — reflects the whole history of sake in Japan, from boom to bust to resurgence. Many of its brands, including the fabled Dassai, are now at izakaya and fine restaurants worldwide. Expert Jim Rion takes us on a tour of all 23 Yamaguchi breweries to introduce the character of each and its brewmasters' best picks. Along the way, he provides background on such topics as rice farmers, drinkware, brewing methods, and the controversy over sake "terroir" (does it exist?). A bonus for travellers is a mini sightseeing guide to the region and its many delights. He illustrated with photographs and quick-reference sake labels.

About the authors:

Jim Rion
Jim Rion is a licensed international kikizakeshi (sake sommelier), certified sake professional, and freelance translator and writer who has been working in the sake industry since 2018. He has lived in Yamaguchi Prefecture since 2004. He took his first sake brewery tour in 2008 and discovered new world ore.

Melinda Joe is an American journalist in Tokyo, Japan. Her food writing has appeared in publications such as Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Departures Magazine and has been translated into four languages. She writes about Japanese drinks in her column for The Japan Times, "Kanpai Culture." She is a certified sake and wine specialist and a panel chair for the sake division at London's International Wine Challenge.


"Every prefecture in Japan has a story to its sake. History, climate, culture, and cuisine play into these stories and inevitably lead us to a fuller appreciation of all things sake. While most books in English focus on grades and famous brands (of which Yamaguchi has its share), Jim's is among the first to dive into the important concept of regionality. And it's about time!" — John Gauntner, author of Sake Confidential and world-renowned sake authority.

"Jim Rion offers a deep and intimate look at Yamaguchi's wonderful sake tradition. The result isn't only an illuminating look at the people who make the drink but a fascinating examination of how the region and its culture influence it. Let's drink to that. Kanpai!" — Brian Ashcraft, author of The Japanese Saké Bible and Japanese Whisky
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Jim Rion, Melinda Joe
Stone Bridge Press
Year of publication
21 February 2023
Number of pages
USD 19.95

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