Where to buy Japanese sake in Australia

Japanese sake is finding fans in Australia, as listeners to Episode One of the Drinks Adventures podcast can attest.

Fortunately for enthusiasts, and curious drinkers alike, the number of avenues for you to purchase Japanese sake to enjoy at home continues to grow.

Where to buy sake in Sydney

Sakeshop opened its Sydney retail outlet in July 2017 in Stanmore in Sydney’s Inner West. Australia’s only physical retailer devoted entirely to sake and other fine Japanese liquor, it has a range of over 100 different sakes and regular in-store tastings. It was founded by Leigh and Stephanie Hudson of Chef’s Armoury, the Japanese knife and kitchenware importers and retailers. Sakeshop also sells Japanese sake online.

Japanese sake at Just Liquor in Ashfield, Sydney
Some of the Japanese sake range at Just Liquor in Ashfield, Sydney

Also in the Inner West, Just Liquor Cellars in Ashfield has a considerable range of Japanese sake, as well as Korean soju, Chinese baiju and other international liquors.

In central Sydney, The Oak Barrel excels at beer, wine and spirits and is no slouch at sake either. Highlighting its growing focus on Japanese sake, The Oak Barrel held its first ever Festival of Sake in April 2018, following on from regular sake appreciation events during 2017.

Other Sydney-based retailers that range Japanese sake include Bel & Brio in Barangaroo, Le Pont Wine in Milsons Point and P&V Merchants in Newtown.

Where to buy sake in Melbourne

Sakeshop’s Melbourne outlet opened five years ago at the Richmond Chef’s Armoury store. Expect the same high quality range of Japanese sake available in their Sydney store and online, including sakes from 13 different brewers exclusively distributed in Australia by Sakeshop.

Other Melbourne-based retailers that stock sake include Prince Wine Store in South Melbourne, Rathdowne Cellars in North Carlton and Atlas Viniferia in Richmond.

Where to buy sake in Perth

Supersake is a bricks and mortar sake store in the Perth suburb of Mosman Park with an extensive range of sake from all over Japan. They also stock shochu, umeshu and Japanese beer and whisky. Online sales are available nationwide.

Where else to buy sake online in Australia

Several of the bricks and mortar retailers listed above sell Japanese sake online, but there are also some online-only retailers worth checking out.

Black Market Sake was founded in 2010 by Matt Young and Linda Wiss and imports sake direct from more than 20 different sake brewers covering just as many different prefectures across Japan. Black Market champions junmai style sake, meaning ‘pure rice’ as the sake can legally only be made with four ingredients – rice, water, yeast + koji-kin.

Sakenet Australia is another key player on online retail. They deal with producers from all over Japan, with a particular focus on the Sanyin region (Tottori and Shimané prefectures) and Western Japan in general. Like Black Market, they favour junmai style sakes with the added criteria that they are suited to drinking warm.

Traditional sake barrels at Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Traditional sake barrels at Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum in Kyoto Prefecture – Image ©JNTO

De Ja Vu Sake is the other major sake specialist importer, but it does not sell direct online. Look out for its excellent range of sakes online via Dan Murphy’s and selected independent retailers.

This list is a work in progress. Are we missing your favourite local sake retailer? Let us know.

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Author: James Atkinson

Accomplished freelance journalist and copywriter specialising in the food, drink, travel and hospitality arenas. Australian International Beer Awards 2017 Media Award Winner and Certified Cicerone®. Founder Drinks Adventures podcast.

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