Japan’s Ambassador to India, His Excellency Kenji Hiramatsu hosted ‘An Evening with Japanese Sake 2019’ at his residence last evening to spread the charm of Japanese sake through the food and beverage industry of India.

The Embassy of Japan in India is working to raise awareness about Japanese food and sake (rice wine) in India, and this is the third edition of the event, following the previous ones held in 2017 and 2018. Nine Sake breweries from Japan attended the event and the star attraction was ‘Miss Sake 2019, Sae Haruta from Japan.

“Sake has also gradually, but significantly increased its presence in India. When we started this event three years ago, it was difficult to find sake in India even if you wanted to enjoy it. But now, we are able to enjoy this traditional Japanese drink in many restaurants and hotels,” said the Ambassador Hiramatsu in his opening speech.

The hall exploded with thunderous applause when Miss Sake 2019, Sae Haruta announced that after Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Taiwan, India will also hold Miss Sake contest to select country’s own Miss Sake India in 2020. Shanghai will also hold its Miss Sake event in 2020.

She informed the guests who were drawn from the liquor industry, hospitality and media that the Miss Sake India contest is being organsied by India’s largest liquor magazine Spiritz. “I am looking forward to welcome ‘Miss Sake India’ in our growing family of glamorous ambassadors who will spread the awareness about our beautiful culture through sake,” she said.

Later while talking to a select media, Bishan Kumar, the Editor-in-Chief of Spiritz magazine
(which is going to hold the contest in India) informed that the Miss Sake India contest will have three rounds; two regional rounds and the finale. “The regional round for North & East is to be held in November and regional round for the western & southern regions in Mumbai will be held in the first fortnight of December. The finale is tentatively fixed for the first week of February,” he said. The winner of the crown shall participate in the global finale, to be held in Kyoto, Japan on 17th March.

Shalini Kumar, the Editor, Spiritz, told that very shortly candidates who were in the age group of 25 to 35 years would apply for the contest. “The qualifications, etc. are given in application form which is being loaded soon on our social media platforms. The contestants are expected to have a good knowledge of Japanese culture and an understanding of sake. The finalists will attend a workshop to brush up their knowledge and also be taught how to wear Kimono,” informed Shalini.

The hall in the embassy was virtually bursting at seams as a large number of guests moved around to try different variants of sakes, and Shochu & Umeshu from different stalls put up by the breweries.

The participating sake breweries from Japan were Katoukichibee Shouten (Fukui prefecture), Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Breweries (Hyogo prefecture), Gassan Sake Brewery (Yamagata prefecture), Ozeki Corporation (Hyogo Prefecture), Nagai Sake Inc. (Gunma prefecture), Ninki Inc. (Fukushima prefecture), Akita Seisyu Co. (Akita prefecture), Endo Syuzoujyo (Nagano prefecture), Muromachi Syuzo (Okayama prefecture), Miyazakihonten (Mie prefecture). Two exporters /traders, Belluna (Saitama prefecture) and Solid (Osaka prefecture) who represent a large number of small & medium breweries in Japan, also attended the event with a good number of sakes to taste.

At this event, in addition to Japanese cuisine, a gastronomic collaboration between Indian cuisine and Japanese sake was also created. The Indian guests enjoyed tasting different assortments of sakes, along with delectable food.