Grand Christmas Sake Tasting 2018

Come and join us to celebrate the end of 2018 bonenkai-style with a Grand Tasting of sakes at our second riverside tasting extravaganza.

Date: Monday 3rd December 2018

Time: 6:30pm to 8:30pm


Location: The Star and Garter

4 Lower Richmond Road, Putney SW15 1JN

Tel: 020 8788 0345

The sakes will be accompanied by buffet-style food platter and there are raffle prizes to be won, with proceeds going to one British and one Japanese charity.

Cost: £25 BSA members £30 non-members

Please book through


Tenth Anniversary!

Save The Dates!

Tuesday 30th October 2018

It will be ten years this October since we officially started the British Sake Association, and to celebrate we will be holding a very special Tenth Anniversary Dinner. Details to follow, but please Save The Date of 30th October, for a memorable evening, at SO restaurant, near Piccadilly circus.

Monday 3rd December ; our annual pre-Christmas bonenkai and Grand Tasting at The Star and Garter Hotel, Putney Embankment. SW15

Other autumn dates to be confirmed in due course

We look forward to seeing you soon.


Japan floods

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan during the current devastating floods. We are hoping that all sake breweries are safe, but praying for those who have lost homes and loved ones.

From us all at the British Sake Association.

Sake Course WSET Level 1

Flyer click here: A5 promo leaflet Sake 1 L 8.10

WSET ® Level 1 Award in Sake

For individuals new to the subject, this qualification offers a hands-on introduction to the world of Sake. You’ll explore the main styles and types of Sake through sight, smell and taste to develop an understanding of the key factors affecting flavours and aromas.

What you’ll learn:

-The basic principles of Sake production

-The main types and styles of Sake

-How to serve Sake

-Key factors affecting the flavour of Sake

-How to describe Sake using the WSET Level 1 Systematic Approach to Tasting Sake ® (SAT)

Where? – Central London
When? – Held throughout the year in  London, 9.00am to 5.00pm
How much? – £169.00 (cost as of October 2017, please inquire for latest prices) includes 8 different Sake samples, sourced from ‘Sam Sake’, food samples, workbook, tuition and examination…and unlimited tea and coffee!

Tutor: Marie Cheong-Thong
To book your place contact
Vivienne Franks 07931 796614

Special offer to BSA Members who pass the exam – £2.50 off next BSA event

Non-members who pass 10% discount on the first year subscription on joining the BSA. 


In conversation with Philip Harper, Japan’s first and only British toji (sake brew-master)

Photo by Akagi Koichi

Thursday 17 August 2017 6:30pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House
The Common Room
13-14 Cornwall Terrace (Outer Circle)
London NW1 4QP

£30 British Sake Association and Japan Society members
£35 guests and others

Please note that this event is fully booked.

Toji is usually translated as “master brewer” referring to the person responsible for the entire brewing process in a particular sake brewery. Highly skilled in the craft of sake brewing, a toji has to work over the years to gain the necessary knowledge and training about the practical business of producing sake and, as a final step, to pass an exam on topics such as fermentation and chemistry to qualify as a sake master brewer.

In collaboration with the Japan Society, the British Sake Association is pleased to invite its members to an evening with Philip Harper, Japan’s first and only British toji. This is a very special joint event: expect a discussion and tasting of aged sakes, temperature and yeasts. Sake will be kindly supplied by SamSake and Tengu Sake.

Accompanying the sake, we will serve a mixed sushi bento box with a side dish of broccoli and aubergine sesame sauce (vegetarian sushi is also available).

In an informal atmosphere, Philip will talk about his experience in the sake world and discuss the production process of a sake brewery. It will also be a chance for you to ask Philip all those questions you have wanted to ask about sake.

Philip Harper was born in Birmingham and raised in Cornwall. After graduating in English Literature at Oxford University, he went to Japan in 1988 on the Ministry of Education’s JET Programme, and worked as an English teacher in public schools in Osaka. Following this experience, he started working at Ume no Yado, a Japanese sake brewery in a rural town within Nara Prefecture. After around ten years or work and training, he qualified as a master brewer and has worked at breweries in prefectures including Ibaraki, Osaka and Kyoto. Philip is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Sake (1998) and The Book of Sake: A Connoisseurs Guide (2006), both published by Kodansha International.

FAQ: Keeping Sake

How long can I keep sake once it is opened?

We get asked this often: and the truth is that it depends on the type of sake.

Light and heat are the number one enemies! Once opened keep cold and in the dark (even fridge light is bad!) and stoppered: for highly aromatic sake you’ll notice the quality difference after a few days (but it’ll still be drinkable).

For less aromatic (but still high-end) you can keep it longer, maybe a week, maybe more. For junmai, honjozo or futsushu you might be able to keep it up to a month.

Added alcohol sake (non-junmai styles) has a better shelf life than junmai.

And sometimes we are asked about the use of vacuum stoppers.

They can help to keep it fresh, BUT please note that if you use vacuum stoppers for highly aromatic sake you can suck the aroma out so it’s not advisable.

Shirley Booth – President & Advised by Oliver Hilton Johnson of Tengu Sake