Sunflower Club Monthly Archives

JUNE 2023: All About Kirinzan
June 2023, we used a one-page comic to highlight a brand-new arrival to Oregon: the seasonal junmai ginjo nama, Potari Potari Blue, as well as its mellow, perfectly chill cousin: Kirinzan Classic Futsushu. Two very different sake, one badass brewery. Kirinzan's vision and philosophy, as well as its excellent sake, are well worth supporting. We're big fans of Kirinzan over here at Sunflower, and we hope you are, too!
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JULY 23: The US Import Pathway: How Sake Gets from Japan to You
Sourcing sake is a complicated process. Alcohol is highly regulated, and the path from brewery to customer is complex: in all but one state, intermediary importers are required. I can't import even if I wanted to! Tariffs, fees, label review, countless hands to pass through. In July 2023, we used a comic to illustrate this process and its importance.
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FEB 24: Cool climate rice: how Kamenoo saved the north
Japan’s record heatwaves are flipping the script on a century of rice breeding for cold tolerance.  From the 1600s to as late as the 1950s, a majority of Tohoku and Hokkaido residents were in a state of extreme poverty, growing more desperate in years of bad weather and volcanic activity. The majority of Japan’s great famines occurred in Tohoku, which was only barely warm enough to ripen rice in a good year. So when a few lucky (and talented) farmers in Yamagata identified and bred the most cold-tolerant, and palatable, rice variety in history, it was only a few decades before Tohoku's circumstances turned around. With this club, we taste through the relatively recent history of Kamenoo and its progeny, and learn a bit about the difficult history of northern rice in Japan.
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APRIL 24: Terada Honke's Gonin Musume, three ways
Terada Honke, maker of Gonin Musume, is an unusual brewery. Their sake is made with organic rice, entirely ambient microorganisms, and ancient methods. Their sake is very much alive, and ages rapidly (and dramatically). For the first time ever, Oregon has received two different Gonin Musume products and with my personal cellar stash of back vintages, we have a unique opportunity to explore a single sake from Terada Honke quite deeply… that is, to compare three versions of the same basic brew.
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JAN 24: A sake diary entry for a difficult month
the sake I chose for January– Hakuto Tokubetsu Junmai, Tahoma Fuji Namagenshu, and Bizen Maboroshi Junmai Ginjo-- are a bit of a diary entry. The original plan was to share fresh Tahoma Fuji (Seattle) and Shirafuji (Woodinville) to highlight our small PNW brewers but the Shirafuji shinshu isn’t yet ready, they’re bottling next week. So January club took a few unexpected turns, much like the unexpected turns of January. The good, the bad, the insightful: January 2024 in a nutshell.
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