Monthly Archives: January 2016

Welcome to 2016

 Sake Sommelier Association

With us now being almost a week into 2016 we thought we would take a moment to look back on 2015.

2015 was a big year for the SSA so lets take a look back at some of the highlights!


Going with the grain: students on the Advanced Sake Sommelier course get a hands-on session with sake's most important ingredient
Going with the grain: students on the Advanced Sake Sommelier course get a hands-on session with sake’s most important ingredient

January saw the ever popular Advanced Sake Sommelier course take place in Japan, with intrepid sake professionals and enthusiasts visiting and working in breweries across Japan.


Contemplating the complex flavours on the March CSS course
Contemplating the complex flavours on the March CSS course

The first of three Certified Sake Sommelier course’s this year in London took place in March.


Fast forward to June and it was time for a Certified Sake Sommelier course in the heart of London at the Millennium Hotel Knightsbridge.


some of this years entries wrapped in traditional Japanese furoshiki
some of this years entries wrapped in traditional Japanese furoshiki

The peak of summer saw things hotting up with the London Sake Challenge attracting a record number of entries! Held at Harrods tasting room here is some info on some if this year’s success stories:

-“Bride of the Fox” prove extremely popular with judges (with their endorsement you can now find this fantastic sake at the Japan Centre)
-American brewery Sake One struck gold with their hearty Genshu “G-Joy
-Nishiyama brewery’s elegant “Rojoh-Hana-Ari-Aoi” (gold medal) is stocked in prestigious wine shop Hedonsim!
-Another gold medal winner, the delicious “Kinokuniya Bunzaemon” (Nakano BC) of Wakayama also found distribution outside of Japan with Australian based
-Tsunan brewery whose “Ginjo Yukigunimonogatari” won a gold medal will soon be in the world famous Harrods!
-Suigei brewery’s gold medal winning “Junmai Ginjo Ginrei” is now available at Whole Foods in London
Congratulations to all entries (find a full list of 2015 medal winning entries here:


Sommeliers, Maitre d’s, buyers, and sake enthusiasts gather in both London’s Millennium Hotel Knightsbridge and The Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam for Certified Sake Sommelier courses!


Sake Sommelier of the Year 2015
back row from left to right; Randy Au; Miguel Hernandez (Winner); Venkadesh Mariappan; Laurent Richet; Joshua Kalinin; Alexander Bayer front row from left to right; Xavier Chapelou (SSA co-founder); Francois Lavergne (Sake Ambassador); Mai E. Segawa (Young Sake Ambassador of the Year); Kumiko Ohta (SSA co-founder)

November brought the biggest Sake Sommelier of the Year yet! Winner Miguel A. Hernandez was pushed all the way by fellow finalists Randy Fung and Venkadesh Mariappan. The event also saw the launch of two brand new titles, with Mai E. Segawa and Francois Lavergne jetting in from the USA and France respectively to pick up the very first Young Sake Ambassador of the Year and Sake Ambassador titles. This was picked up by the magazine of choice for drinks professionals Imbibe! For more information please see here:


The SSA rounded off the year with the usual mix of corporate events as well as the fourth and final Introductory Sake Professional of the year!

Looking Forward

We are now looking forward to an even busier 2016, with even more educators joining the team, bigger events, and maybe even some brand new ones!

Kicking off 2016 in January we have Advanced and Certified courses in Japan and Singapore respectively.

In February we are very pleased to be welcoming our newest franchise: in Italy!

And in March Japan is holding both Certified and Advanced courses!

For further information click here here

We hope to see many of your throughout the course of 2016!

Happy New Year!

Sake Sommelier Association

New Year New Site

Welcome to the new and improved SSA site!

Our New Year’s resolution has been to make our site how user friendly and accessible!

Please take the time to have a look around, from now on we will have blog posts from around the world, spreading the sake love and educating in the process.

Thank you very much for stopping by, feel free to share or just leave a comment.

Wishing you all a sake filled New Year from everyone at the SSA.

Sake Sommelier Association