United States of America – California
|School: Fifth Taste Sake School|
|Sake Educator: Jesse Pugach and KJ Rizzo|
|Courses Run: Introductory Sake Professional & Certified Sake Sommelier|
Jesse is the founder of Fifth Taste, a San Francisco-based distributor devoted solely to artisanal sake. Fifth Taste was formed as a way for Jesse to express his love for artisanal sake by connecting American consumers with the craftsmanship and devotion of inspirational sake brewers. Since 2004, he has worked in a variety of capacities in the sake industry including Beverage Director at the iconic Ozumo Restaurant in San Francisco and Sake Specialist for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. Jesse holds numerous sake certifications and is one of only a handful of JSA Sake Diploma holders in the US. His passion for sake education led to the formation of Fifth Taste Sake School in 2021.
KJ is a wine and sake sommelier in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has 15 years of experience in the beverage industry, most recently as Wine Director/GM of the wine bar and art gallery Hôtel Biron. In addition to her profession in wine, she specializes in sake and provides experiences and educational events to clients around the Bay Area. KJ spent 4 years working at True Sake, the first sake-only retail shop in the US. It was here that she deepened her love for sake and passion for spreading the sake gospel far and wide. In her spare time, she is a busy MW student and judges for competitions such as the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. KJ is devoted to bringing premium sake to the forefront of Americans’ minds so they can experience the magic of this delightful and inspiring beverage.