Saké is an all-natural rice-based fermented alcoholic beverage, made similar to beer and served similar to wine.
Though an ancient beverage dating back to the 1st century BCE in Japan, it wasn’t until the 12th century where it was being regularly brewed and used in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, and the processes began to be formalized. By the beginning of the 18th century, saké was so popular that in modern day Tokyo, the annual per capita saké consumption was 54 liters. By 2010, that had fallen to 4.6 liters per capita, and is estimated to be even lower today.
Modern saké is a pulsing mix of innovation and sacred tradition, and continually rewriting itself as new rices are planted (more than 100 used today), yeast strains are identified, and the culture is sown far beyond Japanese shores, including here in the Pacific Northwest.