Fuyu Fest 2023

Fuyu Fest poster: an image of river otters frolicking in the snow with sake and onigiri all around them.

Fuyu Fest 2023 is a Winter sake festival from Sunflower Sake.

Date: Saturday, January 21st, 2023
Time: 2-5PM
Location: Olympic Mills Building, 107 SE Washington St entrance
Cost before January 14th: $50 General Admission, $70 with commemorative handmade cup 
Cost after January 14th: $55/ $77 (while supplies last)
Sunflower Sake is excited to announce the inaugural Fuyu Fest: A Winter sake festival that emphasizes curation, education and immersion, with a balance of sake, food, culture and activities. Fuyu is Japanese for Winter, and refers to the Winter theme of the festival.

"In Japan, Winter is the primary season for sake: breweries are in full swing, fresh releases are hitting the market, and warm sake is paired with soups, noodles, and onsen soaking tubs. With Fuyu Fest we’re exploring the connection between sake and Winter, and bringing some excitement to the coldest time of year."

Instead of quantity, Murphy decided to prioritize quality: hand-selecting over 50 craft Japanese sake for her favorite distributors and importers to pour at the inaugural Fuyu Fest.

"I know from professional wine and sake tastings that sampling 50, 100, or more products can be exhausting and overwhelming, especially when there is a wide range in quality. I'd rather taste a well-curated, but smaller selection of samples chosen by a trusted professional."

Representatives from Tsuji Honten, makers of Gozenshu Bodaimoto; Choryo Shuzo, makers of Choryo Taruzake; and Sasaichi Shuzo, makers of Dan, have flown in from Japan and will be sharing the love of all things sake with attendees.

"There is no one more passionate about sake than its makers, and no one in the world who is more grateful to hear your appreciation for their product. As a huge personal fan of the brands Gozenshu, Choryo and Dan, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to kampai with representatives from each of these breweries! Let's show them how welcoming Portland is, and how much we love sake."

Guests have the opportunity to spend $20 to upgrade their ticket to include a handmade ceramic cup from local artist Michelle Sparnicht. Michelle has been crafting ceramic wares for over 15 years, and collaborated with Sunflower Sake to produce a limited number of elegant, ice-blue glazed, commemorative sake cups for Fuyu Fest: each stamped with the Sunflower Sake logo.

"For sake to become a feature of Pacific Northwest culture, It's important to take inspiration from Japanese sake culture but make it our own. With all of the artists and creatives in Portland, the potential for innovation and reinvention is huge. By having a local ceramic artist produce beautiful, handcrafted sakazuki-- shallow sake cups-- for attendees, Fuyu Fest is not only making a statement about culture creation but also about its values: supporting artists, combating throw-away culture, and investing in the local economy."

Food options include Obon's famous kenchinjiru miso-vegetable soup and a vegan onigiri. Yellow Heart Sunshine Bakery will also be present selling handmade sweet breads. Electrica PDX and Mizuba Tea Co. have partnered to offer iced sencha tea and strawberry milk (v/nv), included in your ticket.

Snow Peak, an outdoor company headquartered in Japan but with its US headquarters in Portland, have also partnered with Fuyu Fest. Snow Peak is running an immersive, hands-on kanzake demonstration where you can learn how to prepare hot sake at camp. Using Snow Peak's top-of-the-line camp equipment, you'll have the opportunity to try Kubota Yamahai Junmai Daiginjo Seppou at 3 different temperatures to see for yourself how warm sake becomes mellow and sweet. “Seppou” means Snow Peak, and is a collaboration sake between Kubota and the outdoor brand.

"Camping is one of our favorite pastimes in the Pacific Northwest, and I think sake is the best evening beverage at camp. It comes in cans, all sorts of sizes, and best of all: it can be enjoyed at any temperature. On a chilly February evening, surrounded by coastal fog, imagine heading a carafe of sake with friends, warming yourselves from the inside out. As a Japanese outdoor company whose central concept is 'Takibi Time'-- campfire time with friends-- Snow Peak has a beautiful setup for sake warming, serves hot sake in their NW restaurant Takibi, and even offers a titanium sake set. I couldn't think of a better partner to share this activity with festival guests."

You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about sake from its most passionate proponents and experts. Miguel Marquez, award-winning hospitality director of Republica Restaurant Group and beverage consultant for several Japanese restaurants in Portland, will be speaking about his experiences working with sake in a restaurant setting. Marcus Pakiser, Sake Samurai and passionate lifetime proponent, will be diving deep on his favorite subjects. Local craft sake brewer Andrew Neyens, maker of Tahoma Fuji sake in Seattle, will be talking about the unique challenges of brewing in the PNW.

"When it comes to this ancient beverage, there's so much to learn. Its popularity has exploded over the last few years, and we're seeing small craft breweries popping up all over the US: an indication of things to come. But it's still a difficult subject to understand, with lots of terminology and unfamiliar customs. So I'm excited to have a few speakers present at Fuyu Fest to share their perspectives and make sake more approachable."

When you're done with tasting, talks, vendors and artists, you'll have the opportunity to purchase the sake you loved at Fuyu Fest for 15% off the retail price-- an exclusive offer, limited to event guests on event day only. It's a great chance to stock up for the rest of the Winter season.

Finally, 20% of all ticket revenues will be donated to Ikoi no Kai, a nonprofit lunch program primarily serving the senior Japanese-American community in Portland. Fuyu Fest and its sponsors are proud to support Ikoi no Kai, acknowledging the contributions of the elder nikkei community in forming Portland's diverse cultural identity.

Note that this event is strictly limited to ages 21+ and identification will be checked at entry. Please drink responsibly.
Sliding scale: Guests interested but unable to afford the cost, especially those in the F&B/hospitality industry, are encouraged to contact the organizer at info@fuyufest.org for a sliding-scale ticket.

About Sunflower Sake: Sunflower Sake is Oregon's only dedicated sake retail shop and tasting room, located at 107 SE Washington St. #121, 97214.

A downward photo of a sake sampling table with a variety of craft sake being poured for guests, next to informational sheets.

A photo of the commemorative sake cup upgrade made by Michelle Sparnicht.
A photo of Obon's brown rice onigiri

Two people in the snow preparing a campfire with a warm carafe of sake
A scene of a campfire warming a carafe of hot sake in front of the Deschutes river at sunset.
A photo of the lunch program at Ikoi no Kai, with 3 guests enjoying their bento meal

Vendors and Sponsors
Republic National Distributing Company
Kome Collective
JFC Imports
Joto Sake 
Fifth Taste Sake
Sake Suki
Galaxy Wine Co/ Wilson Daniels
Mutual Trading Company
Asahi Shuzo (Kubota brand)
Mitchell Wine Group
Niigata Sake Selections
Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits
World Sake Imports
Julian Sinclair
Zev Rovine Selections

Snow Peak
Heart Fire Ceramics
Miguel Marquez, Hospitality Director- Republica Restaurant Group, speaker
Marcus Pakiser, VP of Sake- Republic National Distributing Co., speaker
Andrew Neyens, Owner/Toji- Tahoma Fuji Sake, speaker

Food and Nonalcoholic Drink
Obon Shokudo
Yellow Heart Bakery
Electrica PDX
Mizuba Matcha Co