In the Mix

Three months, three different sake-related events in Honolulu

May 17th, 2016
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2014The Joy of Sake returns to the Hawai'i Convention Center in July.


The Joy of Sake returns to the Hawai'i Convention Center in July.

Now in its 16th year, the Joy of Sake has grown into a three-city tour that bills itself as “the world’s largest sake celebration outside Japan.”

When the annual tasting returns to the Hawai’i Convention Center on July 22, nearly 400 different types of sake will be poured alongside food from more than 20 local restaurants. The event will also feature an Izakaya Alley with “upscale Japanese street food” served in an outdoor setting.

“We’re excited to bring The Joy of Sake to three cities where people clearly embrace sake and want to explore more,” organizer Chris Pearce said in a statement. The public tasting follows the private U.S. National Sake Appraisal, which also takes place here in July and features more than 160 sake breweries competing in a blind tasting by judges from the United States and Japan.

Tickets for the Honolulu stop are $100.74, with a limited number of $153.24 early access tickets also available. The higher priced early access gets you inside at 5:30 p.m., an hour before doors open to the general admission ticket holders. The tasting will run until 9 p.m. and is open to those 21-and-over only. Click here for tickets.

DON'T WANT to wait until July? Tickets are also on sale now for Sake Fest at the Hawaii Prince Hotel.

From 6 to 9 p.m. June 13 in Waikiki, $75 will buy you sample sips of more than 50 different types of sake, shochu and Japanese beer, including:

» Bizen
» Born
» Echigo
» Ginrei
» Hakkaisan
» Hakutake
» Iichiko
» Kawabe
» Kikusui
» Kinjo
» Kubota
» Mugon
» Piritto Umeshu
» Sakura Muromachi
» Sengetsu
» Shiranami Genshu
» Tatsuriki
» Umepon
» Yamato Shizuku

Along with the liquor, guests will enjoy Japanese street food. Reservations are required; call (808) 739-9463 or email to secure your spot.

AND IF next month is still too long to wait, make plans to check out the Sake Shop, 1461 S. King St., from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday for a Japanese Whisky and Sake Tasting.

Owners Malcolm and Nadine Leong have enlisted Scot Whigam from Southern Wine and Spirits to pour samples of Hibiki Japanese Harmony, Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt and Mars Iwai whiskies.

Sake fans can try a sip of Yoshinogawa Echigo junmai and Kaiun junmai ginjo — or press your luck and try all five, since this tasting is free to attend! (Although you might want to consider supporting this local business and pick up a bottle or two if you plan on drinking more than one flight of samples.)

Get more information about this weekend’s tasting and future events by following the Sake Shop on Twitter or calling (808) 947-7253.
Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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