Sunflower Sake is a sake-focused retail store and tasting room located in the historic Olympic Mills building in the Southeast Industrial neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. In addition to sake, Sunflower also offers champagne, craft makgeolli, hon-mirin, select wines, books, sake wares, and curated drinking snacks. Approximately 200 beverage SKU's are available at any given time, with selections rotating throughout the year. Sunflower is actively engaged in product sourcing from the US and Japan, ensuring a selection that is unique not only in Oregon but in many cases the US in general. As part of Sunflower's mission, we want to offer the best selection of domestic craft sake and makgeolli to support our local industry, as well as the most interesting and dynamic selection of imported sake.
Sunflower's core hours are 1-7PM Tuesday through Thursday, 2-8PM Friday. Occasional Saturday hours are announced on the Instagram, website and mailing list. Sunflower is available for special events throughout the week, including Saturdays with advance notice.
At the tasting room, you can expect a menu of 25-40 sake available by the flight, glass, and carafe, as well as the full retail selection of 200-250 bottles, subject to a nominal $10 corkage fee. While pre-set flights (such as the USA Craft Sake flight) are available, most flights are custom, hand-picked based on a conversation discussing your personal interests. Kanzake (warm sake) is available for all sake by the carafe and glass, and temperature recommendations are discussed at time of order. Namemiso is provided automatically with particular styles of sake, Curated otsumami are available through the Sunflower menu, and our neighbor Olympia Provisions can serve theirt olive, cheese, and charcuterie boards to Sunflower guests.
Shipping and delivery
Local orders are hand-delivered periodically throughout the week, depending on distance. Online orders placed during the week are prepared and shipped on Monday. Shipping is available almost nationwide through a licensed and permitted partner. Exceptions include UT, MS, DE, and dry counties; for more information, refer to the following resource. All shipments are subject to a $30 flat shipping fee in the cold months, $35 in the warm months, due to the additional costs associated with insulated packaging in Summer. Sunflower does ship unpasteurized namazake with a few exceptions (distance, weather, and volatile products).
Every person we serve is given full attention and care, whether online or in person, whether an $8 one-cup or a $2500 order of top-tier daiginjo. This is based on a core motivation of authentic hospitality and a desire to foster an American sake culture predicated on hospitality, creativity, and diversity. It's also based on the proprietor's personal opinion that sake of all grades, all styles, and all contexts, is delicious and valid in its own way. If wine is differentiated by grapes and regions, sake is differentiated by grades and producers, with room for all at the table.
Sunflower Sake maintains two sake clubs: one seasonal, and one monthly. The seasonal club includes 4 bottles of seasonal release sake at a price of $125-150/quarter, fluctuating depending on the cost of the sake itself. The monthly club is a flat rate of $80/month and includes all the best selections we can fit in that $80 number. For both clubs, additional discounts and privileges apply.
As a predictable source of income, clubs are the best way to support Sunflower's mission in an ongoing way. More information on each of the clubs is available here.
Events are a core part of Sunflower Sake, with several series aimed at supporting market growth, creativity, and awareness of sake in the US, with particular focus on serving the interests and needs of artists, authors, and food and beverage professionals.
Some of these events include:
- Exploration sessions: a food pairing series that endeavors to explore and document purposeful sake pairing combinations with food from wide range of cultures and personal backgrounds. The mission is to expand english-language sake pairing resources on the internet, and to demonstrate sake's versatility in beverage pairing. The writeup for Exploration Sessions 1 is available here. Interested collaborators are encouraged to reach out to Nina for future sessions.
- Wednesday Lessons: a casual, affordable, biweekly class for a local audience. Subjects range widely, with past classes focusing on kanzake, specific breweries, and namazake. Guest speakers are encouraged to participate, and in the past have included Bryan West of Fifth Taste distribution. RSVP in person, by email, or Instagram DM is encouraged to gauge event size and plan accordingly, but not required.
- Seasonal festivals: the inaugural Fuyu Fest (January 21, 2022 in Portland, OR) will be announced officially soon.
Sunflower Sake is owned and operated by Nina Murphy, an award-winning wine and sake professional with experience in sales, viticulture, winemaking, retail and education. On a day-to-day basis, Nina operates the Sunflower retail shop, leads private and public sake classes and educational tastings, collaborates with neighboring industries, and continually works to build the presence and reputation of sake in the United States.
Awards and achievements:
- Wine and Spirits Education Trust, Diploma graduate (2022)
- Recipient of the Laithwaite's Award for top performance in the Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 3 Wine exam (2021)
- Wine and Spirits Education Trust, Sake Level 3 graduate (2021)
- Sake Professional Course, graduate (2021)
- Panelist at the inaugural Sake Brewers Association of North America Sake Stakeholders' Summit, 2022
- Contributing lecturer for University of Maryland's Introductory Fermentation remote course, 2020
For my story, see About.
For the ethics and transparency statement, see the Q&A.
Tamagawa sake pairing from Exploration sessions 1: Sake & Zakuski
Pairing flight from Exploration sessions 1: Sake & Zakuski