Who We Are


Yokoso – welcome! The BSA is a not-for-profit organisation (est. in 2006) that provides opportunities for people to taste a wide range of sake, and to meet brewers (Toji/杜氏) and others in the sake world by:

  • promoting understanding and enjoyment of sake.
  • promoting correct storage, serving and drinking of sake.
  • widening the scope of sake-drinking by pairing it with non-Japanese food.
  • strengthening and preserving the tradition of sake-making in Japan.
  • acting as a conduit between Britain and Japan.
  • supporting sake education leading to professional qualifications.

The BSA Team

Shirley Booth

President and Founder

Shirley is an award-winning filmmaker and food writer. She has lived in Japan for several years and founded the British Sake Association in 2006.

Brian Smith

Company Secretary and Honorary Treasurer

Marie Cheong-Thong


Marie is a WSET Certified Educator and also the International Sake and Shōchū Educator for the Sake School of America. Member of Circle of Wine Writers, Guild of Food Writers and on the Council Of Association of Wine Educators. 2021 Recipient of Guild of Food Writers Futures Fund Bursary.

Sarah Stewart

Memberships and Events Officer

Sarah is the Membership and Events Officer at the British Sake Association, the sake tutor at West London Wine School and a sake judge for the IWC. She won the WSET Level 3 IWC sake prize in 2019, is a graduate of the JSS Sake & Shochu Academy and holds the JSA Sake Diploma International. Sarah also studies the Urasenke tradition of Japanese tea ceremony, and enjoys exploring the relationship between sake and tea.

Harriet Furze

Website Officer

Harriet manages the website for the British Sake Association. She is an International Sake Judge with the IWC and a sake sommelier with the SSA. Harriet is a consultant specialising in wine and sake, as well as educational and academic publishing.

Henry Thorogood

Operations and Events Officer

Henry is the Operations and Events Officer at the BSA, and coordinates the Association’s study group programme. He works as a freelance consultant, with a focus on Japanese beverage culture, spanning translation, events, writing, and television media. He is the European Representative for Shimizu Seizburo Shoten, and judges sake with the IWC. Henry holds the WSET Level 3 in Sake with Distinction, and is pursuing the Level 4 Diploma in Wines.

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