Dear Sake Drinker,
Welcome to the April 1st issue of America's sake-centric Newsletter.
In this very special issue behold True Sake's latest endeavor "Spa
True Sake," learn how we have not only embraced the "Sake Bomb" but
are actually taking it to Major League Baseball in the form of "True
Sake Bomber" vendors, check out the new line of sakes that you can
carry on airplanes, read about a special sake that was sent directly
from the University of Tokyo's Fermentation program, get your One Cup
on, and read about how Beau brewed sake on two separate auspicious
occasions. Lastly, remember that this is very special issue
celebrating the "Foolishness" known as April 1st.
In this issue:
True Success - Spa True Sake
It is no secret that sake makers have the softest skin in the world.
And it is no secret that the health and beauty industries have taken
firm notice. In a word there is a sake bi-products boom in Japan and
many brewers are making as much selling skin care and health products
as they do their own sake. In this light many opportunities have
presented themselves to True Sake and myself. One such opportunity was
born on my last trip to Japan.
After visiting several breweries and checking out their wares - hand
creams, facial products, body washes, and skin toning systems - I
concluded that this would be yet another way to honor sake and educate
the west in the process. I always say that sake is an amazing
libation, but sake bi-products are perhaps an even more excellent way
to celebrate sake on account of its healthy attributes.
But before we go forward let us take a step back to really understand
how making sake can actually make your skin soft and almost ageless.
(I have seen 70 year-old sake workers with the hands of a child in
terms of skin tone and appearance.) Every brewer has a story that
collaborates this now well-known phenomenon, but rather than me go on
let's read what some actual breweries have written. Herewith are some
facts and anecdotes about the extremely beneficial elements of sake on
skin care and health from some breweries and some experts in the
Chris Pearce of World Sake Imports (and a dear friend):
Daisekkei Sake Brewing Company:
It is certainly true that people who work with sake a lot often
have smooth, youthful skin, but until recently the reason for
this was unclear. Laboratory research has shown though that
certain enzymes in sake have a moisturizing effect. In a recent
experiment, the Ozeki Sake Brewing Company in Kobe, which has an
active research department, asked some of its employees to drink
270ml of sake (about 9 ounces). It measured moisture content in
the skin two hours later and found that it had risen by 30
percent, according to a recent article in the Yomiuri Shinbun.
Professor Seiji Arase of Tokushima University found that when
applied in powdered form, an extract of sake rice causes the
surface layer of skin to absorb twice the normal amount of water
over a two-hour period. According to the Yomiuri report, "Rice
extract promotes the production of ceramide, a type of lipid
that fills crevices in the surface layer of the skin . . .
prevents dryness and irritation caused by water evaporation and
keeps the skin smooth." The extract is present in KomeKome, a
popular low-alcohol sake served in many restaurants in Hawai'i,
and also in some lotions now sold commercially.
Now, the desire for an attractive complexion is not the main
reason I drink sake. But I took this newspaper story as yet
further evidence that at the cellular level, sake is
extraordinarily good for human beings. The three main
microorganisms involved in the sake-brewing process-lactic
acid-producing bacteria, Aspergillus oryzae mold and
Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast-produce many different natural
chemicals during the course of sake fermentation, over three
dozen of which are believed to be beneficial to health in some
Dr. Oz (really?) Yes, even Dr. Oz is in on the secret:
SAKE will release you from your daily stress
When you get tense, or have too much worries, you'll begin to
feel the stress of your life. Sake ease these stress and the
stiffness in your neck and shoulders. To change your mood, have
a cup or two of it. It will control your cerebral cortex and
then cure the mental problems. From these points you can relax
like a having a bath or massages when you drink SAKE.
SAKE gives moisture into your skin
SAKE Bath cure your dry skin and get moisture into your skin.
For your beauty and to recover from your fatigue, you can't miss
to take a bath. If you put sake into your bath tub before get
in, it keep your skin healthy. And also you get warmed by sake
bath then you'll have smooth and soft, moisture skin. SAKE BATH
- Hot water in the bath tub. Add two or three cups of sake in it
SAKE is good for Spots and Freckles
Most of women are sensitive about their skin. Spots and
Freckles, moles and so on... One cause of these skin problems is
melanin pigments. If you have too much of it, it become spots or
freckles or mole... Japanese Sake contain koji acids and they
control to create melanin pigments. So that we expect that there
are some effective for a smooth skin when you drink sake or rub
it on your skin. Not only control melanin, but also it keep
moisture on your skin. Recently many cosmetics has these koji
acids for these reasons.
SAKE gives you a bright complexion
While you enjoy drinking sake, your skin get healthy and
becoming brighter complexion. Alcohol makes your blood vessels
widen and improve the circulation. Especially sake's raised your
body temperature up ＋2℃ So your body improve the circulation and
get enough nutrition. That's why your skin become a bright
complexion!! And also many women are sensitive to cold. To
improve the circulation, cure of that problem as well.
SAKE is good for anti-aging
One of ingredient called "Koji acids" prevent your skin from
aging and also animate them. Recently as research advances that
sake works on the beauty, it become clear that sake has Koji
acid and it is good for anti-aging and animated on your somatic
cells. Some cosmetic Co. made sure that koji acids grow the hair
healthy, too. From these points sake have every eye fixed on one
and will develop in various ways.
So you get the point! From my friend Chris to a famous sake brewery to
the TV star Dr. Oz, the so called secret is a secret no longer. But
when I jumped on board was later on my last trip to Japan after
visiting the breweries. I was in a ski town up in the mountains that
had a most unusual attraction at the train station. In the middle of
the hustle and bustle known as train station life I found a little spa
that advertised "Sake Baths." I had some time to kill and whenever I
see the word sake I must inquire. Fast forward 20 minutes and I found
myself steeping in a hot bath filled with sake and water. It felt
glorious and I could barely keep myself from sliding under the surface
to end it all blissfully in my sake watery grave. I thought to myself
if I didn't die in the sake brewery during the 9.0 earthquake then
this would be a second best way to go.
Dr Oz said that drinking 1-2 glasses of Sake has cardiovascular
benefits, but you can also use Sake to make your skin glow.
Shalini said that this is one of the beauty secrets of the
Geisha. Your skin absorbs White Camelia Oil better than anything
else, so you are left with perfectly hydrated skin. Plus, this
remedy also eliminates age spots! Another great use for Sake is
to add a bit to your bath, because it helps to relieve sore
muscles and cramps.
But I didn't die, in fact when I got out of the water and felt so
super soft and shimmery I said that I must do something like this in
the US. Now I am not Mr. Cosmetics or spa guy, but luckily enough I
know people who are and they were very receptive to hearing my
concept. I wanted to create a spa dedicated to sake and sake
bi-products. It didn't have to be huge, in fact in my initial
negotiations my partners pleaded for me to think bigger. We met at a
happy medium and solidified a concept that has - you guessed it -
franchise possibilities up the wazoo.
So you are the first to hear that on July 1st 2012 there will be a
grand opening down by Union Square in San Francisco of the first sake
spa in America called - of course - Spa True Sake. With 30 private
tubs, his and her spa rooms with steam (sake infused steam), saunas,
and cold plunges, sake tasting bar, and a small sake cafe you will
feel as good as a sake brewer's hands without all the work.
Save this True Sake Newsletter and receive 50% off of your first sake
bath and enzyme scrub.
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Sake Biz - The Sake "Bomber" Goes to MLB
Now I am not the biggest fan of sake bombs as you all know (why don't
they do chardonnay bombs?) but a buck is a buck and I found yet
another way to get the True Sake brand out in the market. Several
years back I approached Major League Baseball, The San Francisco
Giants Organization, and a local sake brewery to pour sake - hot and
cold - at Pac Bell Park. The True Sake Kiosk has done very well and we
learned that sake does indeed pair well with garlic fries and hot
dogs. And funnily enough on those incredibly cold summer foggy game
nights here in SF sake almost always outsells Hot Chocolate.
I was thinking about ways to get sake out in the seats like the beer
guys do. And at one game last summer it dawned on me that the best way
to create a buzz was to "dumb down" (There I said it - as the owner I
said it - wow is that a bad business guy or what) the concept of sake
and take it to the "streets" in a manner of speaking.
Drum roll please! Ta Dah! The True Sake Bomber! Yes indeed, for the
upcoming 2012 MLB baseball season Pac Bell Park will host the first
flight of "Sake Bombers" in Major League Baseball as a pilot program
for other stadiums and even other professional sports. So what will a
"Sake Bomber" look like? First of all the outfits are awesome - part
samurai, part vending person, and part bar tender! Because of
licensing issues I cannot show you the ensembles yet, but I wore one
for a trial run last week and it rocked. Did I look tacky - sure! Did
I look cheesy - you bet! Did I denigrate sake - absolutely! Will I get
paid - hopefully!
So picture a vendor who carries a beer tray. Now imagine those
Starbucks coffee guys with the two coffee silos on their back packs
that look like rocket boosters with pouring nozzles that dangle down
like Camel Back water packs. That's us! That's a Sake Bomber! Beer up
front and Sake on the back. The Sake Bomber walks up to a seat and
fills a beer cup. He then offers the customer a two ounce plastic shot
glass, which they take from his hands. He then pulls the sake nozzle
and fills the sake glass. The consumer now has beer in one hand and
sake in the other, and then commences to drop the sake plastic shot
glass into the beer. And voila - A Sake Bomb! A sake bomb in your seat
at the ballpark. Imagine rows of fans doing a "Bomb" whenever
something exciting happens at the game.
We toyed with the idea of including a pair of chopsticks to do a true
sake bomb, but they were too cumbersome and there was no real surface
to put the cup down on to pound the surface that splits open the
chopsticks and depth charges - kerplunk - the sake bomb! The beers
will be the typical 12 oz variety, but as of yet we haven't selected
the official beer of sake bombing. We have had so many amazing offers
from Bud and Coors of course to Corona (really? Mexican beer -
Japanese sake - American ballpark) and Sapporo/Asahi/Kirin. And yes
believe me when I tell you that we have done a bevy of tastings to see
which beer actually goes best with our sake. And as you can imagine
there is the whole naming rights issue with beers and stadiums and
I know it may be beneath you good True Sake Newsletter reader but if
you are out at the ballpark this summer think about getting "Bombed"
Oh Yah! The Sake Bomber is coming down your aisle now!
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Sake Sizing - New Airline "Carry On" Single Serving Sakes
Those damn selfish terrorists! My job used to be easy! I used to be
able to hand carry twelve to fourteen bottles of sake on the plane on
each of my trips to Japan. Now I have to make a choice - bring twelve
bottles or bring my clothes home! Yes, I leave a lot of clothing in
Japan. And when I travel within the US it is still a pain to no be
able to carry on sake. It's bad for business too! We get a lot of
customers at True Sake who pick out several sakes and bring them to
counter only to remember then that they have carry on luggage and are
not checking bags. No sale!
You would think the 300ml bottles would be okay, but they are not. You
would then think that the small cans (200ml) or the really small 180ml
bottles would suffice, but nope! Those are all over the 3oz limit.
What to do? Well I asked several select breweries if they would
consider making a 3oz mini bottle for us frequent flyers, and voila
Starting next month we will be selling an exclusive line of "Carry On
Sakes" from 15 different amazing breweries. Not only do they look
really slick, but also they are pretty darn delicious when you crack
one open at altitude. How tired are you of Bud in a can or crappy
white wine in those twist off bottles? No more! Now you can bring as
many "Carry On Sakes" as you want, because they are within the legal
fluid carry-on limit as established by Homeland Security.
There is also very strong pre-order demand from customers who only
want half a glass of sake in one serving. These single serving sakes
are perfect for those who like fresh sake that is opened only once.
Several restaurants that think a mini-three-bottle flight would be
superb for tabletop presentation have also contacted me. I'll see how
the demand is at the store before I commit to the restaurants.
Likewise shipping is a dream for these little guys, as they cost next
to nothing to ship. Who said good things come in small packages? We
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Sake Spotlight - Baka Sake
Well I received a really amazing present the other day and quite
frankly I was so deeply honored that I felt it would be appreciated by
you good readers. Yes most of my presents come in the form of sake -
unusual sakes, special sakes, one of a kind sakes, memorable sakes,
meaningful sakes - you get the picture. But this special brew really
I did not know this but at the Tokyo University School of Fermentation
students several years back nicknamed one of the study rooms
"Beau-San" in honor of yours truly for "my passion and fascination
with sake, and my determination." (The determination line was funny.)
That alone blew me away, but one of the current classes brewed a
special sake (very small batch stuff as you can well imagine) for me.
Well they said that they had me in mind when they tried a new and
quite frankly different way of making our favorite ancient beverage.
They secretly shipped the sake as "Medical Supplies," and it did not
get caught at customs. There was a note that was included saying that
"Baka Sake" was made for me and me alone and that it was only good
enough for me to taste but not others. Wow- I thought, these guys are
crazy! But I loved the idea that it was a sake that only I could try.
Again I felt very honored. And looked for a special night to do a
serious tasting of Baka Sake to really pull it apart and try to
understand the brew from the inside out. I wanted to send back a
really strong review of Baka Sake.
Since the students aren't a brewery they didn't have proper labels for
the sake, and I felt this added to the uniqueness of the situation.
The bottle did have a hand written label that was affixed by glue
perhaps, and the cap didn't have the proper ring seal, which I guess
you need special equipment. There was an ice-pak in the packaging, and
believe it or not the sake still had a mild chill. Let's just say it
didn't warm to room temperature. Herewith is a review of a very
special sake made in my honor called Baka Sake from the students at
the Tokyo School of Fermentation:
Well I wasn't overly impressed with the sake. It was unusual and
unique as promised, but felt the overall balance was off? That being
said I vaguely remember a flavor along the same lines and that huge
acidity was also familiar. Perhaps if I age it it will mellow out
From Tokyo Prefecture. Futsushu. SMV: +3 Acidity: 4.5 Amino Acid: 3
The nose on this very unique sake is quite a pungent mixture of
cleaning fluid, citrus, diluted ammonia, zesty salad dressing and
a hint of marzipan. The first sip of this futsushu (table sake) is
a brisk one with a large presence of acidity that unveils a zesty
fluid with a very hot finish and long tail. There is tingle all
the way through as the elevated alcohol content (19%) pushes the
acidity from start to finish. There are many layers of astringent
flavors as well as citric elements. Look for young peach, unripe
mango, lemonade, and crisp pear tones. Chilled covers the acidity
and room temp brings forth more zest.
reds/Brisk whites BEER: Ultra Hoppy Ales
FOODS: cuisine with
attitude, spicy, international.
You can review many of our sakes on our web site.
Our inventory list is here.
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Beau-Zone Layer - Ozeki One Cup
Is it the King of Sakes? You bet it is, and this brew has forever
changed the illustrious history of sake. Hands down no other sake made
today or ever has had the brand name and brand awareness to match this
perfect little sake package. Is it popular? A brewer in Niigata once
told me that the total output of sake for the entire prefecture of
Niigata from every brewery in one year is less than a year's-run of
One Cup! Sure it is machine made, and is considered a commoner's sake.
Sure it is served from vending machines to drunks more often than not,
but at the end of the day it is pure sake history and has to be
considered one of if not the most universally recognized sakes. Is it
a perfect sake? No! Is it a garbage sake? No! It quite simply is a One
Cup and it rules!
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Sake Images - Photos From The Soul Of Sake
Please be a part of our "Sake Images" section by contributing your
very select sake related photographs. I'm not looking for a batch of
your pictures, rather I'd like to see one or two really powerful shots
that could be in a brewery or at your own home tasting or event.
Quality over quantity here people! And then write one or two sentences
(if you want) about the picture that we can share with the other
Please send these very specific and stellar photos to
info @ truesake.com
with the subject line "Sake Images".
This month's Image is from an undercover journalist whose name will go
unmentioned to protect their identity.
Because of the extremely competitive and harsh physical conditions for
making sake, many kurabito (brewery workers) have taken to using
steroids and performance enhancing drugs. This picture is of a worker,
who claimed to be getting old and vulnerable to losing his job to
younger and more fit workers, showing me the needle that he typically
injects himself with every other day. He assured me that the industry
does not do random drug testing for these performance enhancing drugs.
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"Ask Beau" - "Have You Ever Made Sake?"
Ha! Mary Anne S from Indianapolis IN you have asked a very fun
The quick answer is yes! I have made sake on numerous occasions in
Japan at several different breweries all over the country. Am I a
qualified brewer to make batches on my own without help? Nope! I would
ruin some serious product if put in charge. I am no Toji! Beau-ji yes!
Toji no! I feel comfortable with my title of kurabito or sake brewer
That said I have personally made sake twice on my own here in the US.
Once in my bathtub and once in my mouth. I figured as a student of
sake it would be important for me to try making sake using one of the
most ancient techniques known to the industry. The other attempt was
to replicate a traditional way of making doburoku or "bathtub" sake,
which were at-home brewing techniques to make illegal "non-taxed"
On one trip to Kobe I purchased 150lbs of AAA Yamadanishiki brewing
rice from Hyogo Prefecture. If I was going to make bathtub sake it was
going to be the damn best bathtub sake in the history of sake. The
rice was extremely expensive and so too was the Association #9 kobo
(yeast) that I purchased from a company in Kobe. All I needed was some
mold and decided to skimp on this part. I could have purchased some
quality Aspergillus oryzae (yellow mold) but instead just used the
naturally occurring mold in my bathtub. (I had to scrape my shampoo
bottle bottoms get into the grout work, but eventually I got enough to
convert that long chain starch molecule into a sugar. The molds really
went for the shinpaku of the tremendous rice.)
When I got back to the US I was really excited to make my True Beau
Shu. I really went for it. I used huge soup kettles to steam the rice
and then dumped into the tub. I used a small bucket for my yeast
starter, and then I practiced a technique that a female toji in Kyoto
taught me. She makes kimoto sake using her feet, so too did I. Yup,
there I was stomping away for hours in my tub. I tried to whip up some
serious lactic acid. Stomping away. Naked and stomping away. I even
sang a cute little kimoto making song that I learned at a brewery in
Kobe. Then I added my yeast starter and away I went. For 22 days I
watched my joyous bubbling tub. I watched as the bubbles became larger
with more shimmery. I scraped off the dead flies and gnats that were
attracted to my sweet nectar. And then it was done.
My tub looked like soupy oatmeal and I knew it was time to filter my
brew. I used a strainer, and filled 18 bottles. 18 bottles of precious
True Beau Shu. I continually tasted throughout the fermentation
process - dipping my whole face under the surface of the sake and
drinking heartily. Often, as there was very little oxygen in and
around the bathtub, I became woozy and nearly fell into the tub on
several occasions. Had I fallen in then I would have certainly made
True Beau Shu. Nevertheless, I could perhaps have bottled 30 bottles
of sake, but I needed to taste and taste and taste. So the magic
number was 18. Who got to taste those wonderful bottles of True sake?
Many unsuspecting tasters. You see, I would use the doburoku sakes for
my numerous tasting classes and lectures. And of course I would tell
the tasters only after the fact that they tasted the best my bathtub
had to offer. (Yes - there were two outright pukers when they learned
of this fact, and plenty of gaggers) How did it taste? Many said a
combination of soap and old cheese. A few said it tasted like hell
itself. But what the heck did they know? They were just sake plebes,
neophytes who had no clue as to what precious and yummy sake tastes
like. The fools!
My second effort was even more crude and was a direct replication of
the ancient art of chew and spit sake. Except instead of a gaggle of
village virgins who chewed and spit I was just me on a bender over a
long weekend that I vaguely recollect. And unlike my bathtub sake
where I spared no expense I did the chew and spit on the cheap. I used
Uncle Ben's rice and a microwave (I think).
The theory behind chew and spit is that the enzymes in your mouth -
saliva - attack the cooked rice breaking the starch molecules into
wonderful sugar molecules. That's the first step. The second step is
after chewing and slurping your ricey saliva you spit that wad into a
bucket. The ancients used wood buckets, but I could only find an old
Crisco can (jumbo sized). My memory of my master brewing experiment is
hazy as I was liquored to my gills on cheap futsushu and stuffed to
the brink with No-Dozes. I cannot really recall where I did most of my
brewing, but there was a significant amount of spit and chewed rice in
my bathroom in and around the shower. I do recall passing out twice.
(spilled the can on one tumble). I also recall how sore my cheeks were
and how much it hurt to continually spit. That created all the more
need for me to keep drinking my cheap sake, which I guess resulted in
a kijo-shu of sorts as my spit was loaded.
Fast forward two weeks! My Crisco brewing can looked absolutely
disgusting, but there were little bubbles of fermenting goo. Something
was working! I was making sake! The open air yeasts of my house were
working their magic. They were converting sugar into glorious alcohol
and to think it all came from me. (Who needs virgins?) A week later
and my little vat was popping and plopping like a kid's bubble
machine, and I figured that my chew brew was ready. So I went and got
a sieve, and started the process of transferring my luscious liquid
into plastic water bottles. I used cobalt blue bottles so people
couldn't see the disgustingness within. (I told two people who would
later buy my brew that I used blue bottles to obscure the light to
protect the sake.)
All in all I made four partially filled bottles of sake. Four freaking
bottles of my spit! Impressive heh? As Borat woud say "High Five!" But
when I was holding a bottle in my hand I said to myself that there was
no way that I was going to taste that durge. But I had to know how it
tasted, so I considered friends and even some folks that I don't
consider friends. Then I dawned on me. I had the perfect taster. His
name is Ronny and he lives down in the alley behind my house. As I ran
down to see if Ronny was there I kept practicing my lines. "Hey Ronny
- Merry Christmas (It was actually July) - I have a special present
for you. It is wine. Riiiiiiice wine. (I really pronounced the rice to
get him to think that it was very special) and I want you to have it!
But you must drink it in front of me so I get some holiday spirit
Ronny was there. I said my lines. And before my eyes he twisted off
the cap and took a large pull on the blue bottle. Now in my lifetime I
have seen people make the "Oh my god that is so disgusting" face
before, but never have I seen a person make the face that Ronny did.
He was silent, but his face was screaming. It actually looked like he
was in pain. And then it happened. Ronny started coughing. Not your
typical cough like "my lungs tickle a little" or the cough where some
fluid goes down the "wrong pipe," but a cough that threatened to turn
Ronny inside out. As his face reddened he tried to make eye contact
with me. That's when I ran.
So as I said before I am not a master brewer. Heck, I am not even a
brewer. I am just a guy who likes to work in breweries and on occasion
will dabble in some home brewing.
Please send your sake specific questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This address is not for general questions and I only review the
questions once per month. All correspondence should use
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The SECRET WORD
Ah, at last we have reached the end of this Newsletter and that of
course means that we have come to the now-famous SECRET WORD. To those
who are new the SECRET WORD is a chance for you to try a sake of note
for half of that sake's original price. Just for reading this
Newsletter. It is our way of saying thank you for trying to understand
the wonders of sake.
Please remember the rules: only one bottle per reader, and don't tell
your buddy at the moment if he/she isn't a Newsletter subscriber,
always use a hushed or secret agent voice when saying the SECRET WORD,
and lastly for those who have their sakes shipped we can only include
the SECRET WORD sake in a three-pack purchase - meaning you must buy
three other sakes.
This month we are featuring sake that has only 0.8% alcohol, comes in
a jar and costs only $2 with the secret word.
And the SECRET WORD is...check your email inbox -
We only give out the
SECRET WORD in the mailed Newsletter! So
sign up for the Newsletter!
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Thank you for reading!
You have probably noticed that the Japanese name for salmon is sake.
Sound familiar? That is why sake used to be referred to as "Fish
water" or "Water of the fish." Even today you will hear older drinkers
ask for more "Fish Nectar" or another glass of "Fishy Fluid." By all
means on your next trip to Japan try to impress the locals by ordering
a sake using one of these well-respected ancient phrases.
True Reward Program
Frequent Buyers. Earn 20% Off!
How it works:
Earn one star per visit when you purchase at least one regular priced item. Limited to one star per day.
Five stars gets you 20% off towards your next visit! (Excluding sales items and the secret word sake)
Name & Phone Number
560 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 94102
info @ truesake.com
Sake - A Modern Guide