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Sake Nation “Special Case of Ban Lifted on Alcohol Take-out Sales from Restaurants”

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by Kosuke Kuji

As the novel coronavirus raged across Japan in March, many restaurants voluntarily shortened their business hours or shut down.
Since the state of emergency was declared, citizens were continuously advised not to dine out in restaurants or attend drinking parties in large groups. The tourism and restaurant industries were dealt a significant blow in Japan.
Restaurant owners were not exactly wringing their hands, as many restaurants started to accept take-out orders.
Although this is wonderful, alcohol permits in Japan stipulate alcoholic beverages purchased from restaurants must be consumed on the premises.
Take-home consumption is prohibited.
In such times, the news reported alcohol delivery and take-out sales from restaurants became legal in the U.S.
We sake breweries initiated an effort to establish a system allowing take-out sales of alcoholic beverages as permitted in the U.S. by dividing the volume into smaller portions, etc., to save our restaurant clientele. The National Tax Agency JAPAN, the administering agency of liquor licenses, immediately responded at a startling speed and lifted the ban to permit take-home sales of alcoholic beverages. However, thanks to the remarkable speed of the permit granted in only one day, many restaurants continue to use this system to accept take-out orders for both food and alcoholic beverages.
Restaurants, especially bars and pubs do not only serve food. Consumers enjoy satisfaction from savoring the sake selections chosen by the owner together with delicious cuisine in the ambiance of the establishment. We cannot yet enjoy the ambiance of a bar or pub, and the cuisine alone lacks the joy of dining out; however, adding the alcoholic beverage adds joy to a take-out meal consumed at home.
There must be more we could do. We sake breweries look forward to continuing our efforts.



酒豪大陸「飲食店の持ち帰り酒販免許特例解禁」

新型コロナウィルスが日本で猛威を振るっている3月、飲食店は自ら自粛をしたり、店舗のオープン時間を短くしたりしていました。
緊急事態宣言が出てからは、名指しで飲食店に行かないように、大人数の飲み会をしないように、と言われ続け、観光産業とともに、日本でもかなりの被害を受けているのが飲食店でした。
もちろん手をこまねいているわけではないのですが、テイクアウトを始める飲食店も多数出てきました。
それはそれで素晴らしいのですが、日本では免許の関係で、飲食店にあるお酒はその飲食店で飲まなければ行けません。
持ち出したりするのは禁止されています。
そんな中、アメリカでも飲食店にアルコールの持ち帰り販売が可能になったというニュースが出ました。
私達蔵元は飲食店さんを救うために日本でもアメリカ同様に、飲食店でお酒を小分けしたりして持ち帰り販売できる制度の創設に動きました。すぐさま免許を管轄する国税庁が呼応して、驚くほどの早さで飲食店でのお酒の持ち帰り免許が解禁されました。しかも申請から1日で認可されるというスピード感のすごさもあり、多くの飲食店さんがこの制度を使って今でも料理とお酒をテイクアウトしています。
飲食店、特に飲み屋さんは料理だけ出すお店ではありません。そこの主が選んだ自分の料理にあう日本酒をその雰囲気でおいしい料理と楽しむことで満足を得られます。雰囲気などは今は出来ませんが、料理だけでは飲み屋の魅力は少なく、これに酒がつく事で少しは飲み屋の良さを自宅で味わう事が出来ます。
やれることはたくさんあるはずです。酒蔵も頑張っていきたいと思います。

#Sake #BanLifted #TakeOut

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Tokyo Jizake Strolling (The Future Direction of Japanese Sake)

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Tokyo Jizake Strolling (The Future Direction of Japanese Sake)

While the coronavirus threat is starting to subside in Tokyo, most residents are still in quarantine with some hesitant to step into restaurants where people congregate. As reported in the previous issue, people are determined to find creative ways to get through the tough economic times posing the greatest challenge for sake breweries and retail shops selling sake. The economy will not go back to normal right away. As Tokyoites gradually come out of quarantine, those who cannot telecommute are heading back to work in the cities, filling commuter trains that was empty until just recently, leaving no seats available.
This means demand will decrease among consumers who consume sake at home. However, restaurants cannot get back to normal business anytime soon, continuing to incur losses. Sake shops will continue to suffer losses in sales to customers and restaurants. This situation is expected to continue for several more months, with stay-at-home likely to continue outside of essential purposes to avoid a secondary infection. However, since restaurants, sake shops, and sake breweries are all inter-connected, sake breweries are also struggling. This timing gives evidence to how much sake consumption declined among Japanese nationals.
Traditionally, sake was found in every home and would expect sake consumption at home would increase under these conditions, therefore, sake shops and breweries should not be incurring losses hypothetically. One conclusion that may be drawn is that the PR teams and ambassadors of Japanese sake brands were not effective in their promotional efforts. Perhaps, their efforts to popularize Japanese sake were directed in the wrong direction. Japanese sake is a beverage casually consumed and closely tied into everyday life in Japan. Therefore, the increased wine consumption compared to the reduced sake consumption can be attributed to Japanese society as a whole.
This is a timing to take a long, hard look for PR teams of Japanese sake. However, all we can do for now is to drink sake. The difficult challenges can be addressed once the coronavirus threat passes completely. Also, I hear many people are cooking more and improving their cooking skills while staying home. Using regional sake for cooking is a great idea. For example, if using miso one day, or cooking wild game or fresh fish is a great reason to purchase regional sake to cook with or compliment the prepared cuisine. For example, in a community with regional cuisines prepared from mountain vegetables, why not purchase regional sake from a local brewery to prepare wild game and enjoy with the sake? Since the same sake was used in preparing the cuisine, there is no way the sake wouldn’t compliment the cuisine.
The message that is important to pass on is not knowledge pertaining to sake composition, etc., not simply to consume sake, but knowledge to closely and efficiently tie sake into daily life to increase the consumption volume of sake overall. Also, I pray business is back to normal by the time this article is published.



東京地酒散歩(日本酒の向かう場所)

 コロナウイルスの脅威が落ち着きつつある東京だが、まだまだ自粛ムードであり、人が集まる飲食店に行くのを躊躇う人も多い感じである。前回も書いたのだが、皆それぞれ工夫を凝らし、今を乗り切ることに必死であるが酒蔵・酒販店としては、一番苦しい時期だろう。直ぐに世の中が通常に戻るわけでは無い。東京も多少ステイホームの意識が緩み始め、テレワークだけでは済ませられない人達が仕事に出ている。ガラガラだった都心の通勤電車が座れなくなっているそうだ。そうなると家呑み需要が減るのだが、飲食店はまだまだ通常運転とはいかず苦しい状態が続いている。酒販店としては、一般のお客様販売も飲食店売りも減るだけである。まだまだこの状況が数か月続く予想なのだが、2次感染の事も考えて不要不急の外出は避けねばならないだろう。しかし、飲食店・酒販店・酒蔵は連結しているので、酒造メーカーも苦しいようだ。このタイミングで日本人がどれほど日本酒を飲まなくなったかが解かる。昔は各家庭に日本酒が有り、普通に考えたら家呑み需要が増え、そこまで大きく酒販店や酒蔵が厳しい状況になることは無いはずである。今回、日本酒PR活動家やアンバサダーと呼ばれる人達の活動の成果が出ていなかったと言えるだろう。日本酒普及の向かうべき方向が間違っていたのかもしれない。手軽で生活に密着した日本酒なのにワインを手本に難しくしてしまった世の中に責任は多少有るだろう。PR活動を行っている人達は真剣に考えねばならないタイミングだと考える。しかし、今は只ひたすら酒を飲むしかない。難しい事は、完全に世界的にコロナの脅威が過ぎ去ってから考えれば良い。因みに、このタイミングで自炊に目覚める人も多いと聞く。料理の腕が上がったという人もいる。料理酒として地酒を探すのも悪くない。例えば、今日は味噌を使うから・・・ジビエ系だから・・・新鮮な魚が手に入ったなどそのタイミングで飲む酒でもあり料理酒としてもその地域の特徴で酒を買うのも良いのではないだろうか。山の幸を主としている地域の酒蔵の酒を買いジビエ料理を作り、その料理を肴に酒を飲む。料理に使った酒を飲むので合わないわけがない。今後伝えていかねばならない事は日本酒の成分などの知識では無く、日本酒は飲むだけではなく上手に利用する事で生活に密着した物になり日本酒消費量が上がるという知識ではなかろうか。そして、この記事が掲載される時には活気のある世の中に戻っていることを祈るばかりである。
#Sake #coronavirus

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Sake Q & A

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By Yuji Matsumoto


1. Cold or Hot
Many people think that high quality sake should be enjoyed chilled, but that is wrong. Compared to not needing to worry about the temperature for the better quality sakes, it is better to really chill the poor balanced sakes on the contrary. For one guideline, if it is a refreshing sake that has a flower or fruit type aroma, it’s better to chill them to enjoy the clean cut taste and aroma.

2. Which Sake is Better?
Which sake you like changes if the food you like regularly is rich or light so there is no exact answer, but I feel there is a tendency that someone that likes full body red wine will probably like a Junmai Kimoto or Honjozo type sake and someone that likes a young, fruity chardonnay will like a Daiginjo of Niigata prefecture type sake.

3. Drinking Cup
Not only for sake but for wines or beers, it’s amazing that the taste can drastically change depending on the glass. If you want to enjoy the taste and especially the aroma, a small white wine glass is good. For hot sake, so the steam of the alcohol is not smothering, a ceramic type with a slightly large mouth that holds the temperature is good. A wooden square doesn’t go well with aromatic Ginjo types but for sakes with definite body like Junmai types, you can enjoy them with the aroma of Cypress. Please enjoy cold or at room temperature if you have it that way.



日本酒Q&A

1、冷か燗か
多くの人は、高級酒は冷して飲むと思っているが、これは違う。質の良い日本酒ほど温度にあまりとらわれず飲むことができるのに対して、バランスの悪い酒は、キンキンに冷やした方が逆に良い。一つの目安としては、花や果実系の香りのするすっきりとした日本酒は、冷した方が味の切れと香りが楽しめる。

2、いいお酒はどれ
普段の自分の好む料理がこってり系なのか、あっさり系なのかによっても日本酒の好みも変わってくるので一概には言えないが、フルボディーの赤ワイン系が好きな人は、おそらく純米生酛や本醸造系が気に入るだろうし、若いフルーティーなシャルドネが好きな人は、新潟の大吟醸系が気に入る傾向にある。

3、飲む器
日本酒に限らず、ワインやビールでもグラスによって味が全く変わるから不思議。味、特に香りを楽しみたいのであれば、小さめの白ワイングラスが良い。熱燗の場合は、アルコールの蒸気が抜け、むせない少し口の大きな陶器系で保温性のあるものが良い。
木の枡は、香る吟醸系にはあまりむかないが、純米などのしっかりとしたボディーの日本酒には、ヒノキの香りが出て美味しく感じられる。その際は、冷か常温で飲む。



清酒問答

1. 冷或熱
許多人認為高級清酒都是冷藏後飲用,但事實並非如此。高品質的清酒就算溫度不同仍然可口,但味道不平衡的清酒反而該冰凍飲用。根據經驗,清爽、帶有花香或果香的清酒,冷卻後可享受清爽的餘韻和香氣。

2. 哪些才是好酒
不能一概而論,因為我所喜好的清酒味道,會隨我平時喜歡吃的食物味道是重還是淡而變化。不過如果您喜歡酒體豐厚的紅酒,可能會喜歡純米生酛或本釀造系的酒;如果您偏好年輕果味的莎當妮,可能會喜歡新潟市的大吟釀系的酒。

3. 飲酒容器
奇怪的是,不僅清酒,葡萄酒和啤酒也會根據酒杯的不同,口味也有所不同。如果您想享受味道,尤其是香味,可以使用小的白葡萄酒杯。在熱燗(熱飲)的情況下,最好使用陶器,該陶器的嘴要稍大一些,以防止酒精蒸氣逸出時給嗆到,並使其保持溫暖。
木質的枡(像一個小木盒一樣的杯)不適合帶有香味的吟釀系清酒,但是用來喝如純米等酒體紮實的清酒,側會散發出一絲絲檜木香,感覺很美味。在這種情況下,請在冷或常溫下飲用。



일본술 Q & A

1, 차갑게 아니면 따뜻하게?
대부분 고급술은 차갑게 마시는 것으로 생각하기 쉽지만, 이는 틀린 생각입니다. 양질의 일본술일수록 온도와 상관없이 마실 수 있지만, 밸런스가 나쁜 술은 아주 차갑게 마시는 편이 오히려 좋습니다. 꽃이나 과실류의 향이 나는 깔끔한 맛의 일본술은 차갑게 마시는 것이 산뜻한 뒷맛과 향을 즐길 수 있습니다.

2, 좋은 술의 기준
평소 자신이 좋아하는 요리가 진한 맛인지 담백한 맛인지에 따라 좋아하는 일본술도 달라지기 마련입니다. 따라서 모두 다 그런 것은 아니지만, 풀바디의 와인을 좋아하는 사람은 대체로 준마이 기모토(純米生酛)나 혼죠조(本醸造)를 좋아하고, 풍부한 과일향의 영한 샤르도네를 좋아하는 사람은 니가타의 다이긴죠(大吟醸)를 즐기는 경향이 있습니다.

3, 술잔
신기하게도 일본술뿐만 아니라 와인과 맥주도 잔에 따라 맛이 변합니다. 맛, 특히 향을 즐기고 싶다면 작은 화이트 와인잔이 안성맞춤입니다. 데운 술을 마실 때는 알코올의 증기가 빠져 습기가 차지 않는 약간 입구가 큰 도자기로, 보온성이 있는 것이 좋습니다.
나무로 만든 병은 향기로운 긴죠(吟醸)에는 잘 어울리지 않지만, 준마이(純米) 등의 깔끔한 바디의 일본술에는 히노키 향이 더해져 더 맛있게 마실 수 있습니다. 이때는 차갑거나 상온으로 마십니다.


#Sake #Temperature #DrinkingCup

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