Mr. Adrian Goh

Director, Inter Rice Asia; co-founder, Sake Matsuri; sake educator and judge

Adrian Goh wears many hats, but most of them are powered by his love of sake. Since getting into the sake industry professionally in 2013, he has seen it move out of its niche and into the mainstream. “As recent as the 90s, sake was seen like alcoholic rice water - not bad, but drank warm and only with Japanese food,” he recounts with a laugh. “The new style of Japanese sake tends to taste more like wine, so people who are used to wine find it more familiar.” This is why he finds that staff from all kinds of restaurants, not just Japanese, are seeking to be cross-trained in sake. His classes tend to comprise 60% trade and 40% enthusiasts, with a boost in number from those using their SkillsFuture credits.

In a generalisation, he notes that most beginners start with the delicate style of sake, such as junmai daiginjo and daiginjo. However there are many more styles available today, which is where Sake Matsuri comes in, offering almost 300 sakes in one location for free-flow tasting.

In terms of conducting tastings at Sake Matsuri, Adrian assures us that there is no right or wrong way to sample. For some people, tasting from lighter to heavier will make sense, while others may choose to start with the heavier, full-bodied sake, and progress to the more refined bottles. For those who are experienced, Adrian says tasting by prefecture for their regional characteristics would be an excellent idea. But as the stalls are organised by distributors rather than prefectures, there is another method - all the stalls at Sake Matsuri will be putting their best foot forward, showcasing what they do best. They will curate by prefecture, styles or even themes such as using different yeast starters. Trade professionals will also be able to taste a wide range of sake at different price points, which is particularly useful if they are seeking sakes to add to their beverage menus, whether a house sake or special finds.

When asked for more tips to maximise tastings, Adrian suggests bringing your own spittoon to moderate your intake, while also using your preferred note-taking method to jot down impressions of the sake on the spot - whether you prefer paper and pen, or posting your sake diary on social media. At the end of the day, you’ll have enjoyed your discoveries and added to your sake knowledge - kanpai to that!


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