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Sake 101: an interview with Greg Boeuf

Dear reader, friend, please meet Greg Boeuf, the man who helped us track down THE perfect Sake for our newest (potentially favorite) child  our Junmai Sake + Yuzu Spritz (4%)

He's a French man who was so bewitched by the world of sake (relatable) that he made it his “pain e beurre”. Over the course of many months, lots of sampling sessions and many conversations with Sake masters across Japan, he helped us track down the perfect liquid that we felt really complimented our Yuzu Soda.

The resulting Junmai Sake was brewed to our specifications (dry, umami and tart), sourced from the Hyôgô prefecture and made by one of Japan's most respected brewers.

We couldn't think of a better moment to proverbially uncap Greg's mind and find out more about Sake in the process.

Read on below. 

Hi Gregoire, for those who don’t know you like we do… Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, my name’s Greg, I am 40 years old and I am a Kuramoto and a Tôji, which translate to Owner and Brewmaster of a French based sakagura called “Les Larmes du Levant”

Where are you and what are you doing right now?

Currently in the brewery which is south of Lyon, in a place called “Côte Rôtie” for those who know their wine, obviously answering this Q/A, then I’ll head back to bottle up one batch of freshly brewed sake

How did you end up working in the sake space?

By traveling to Japan, drinking a lot (sake of course!) and by meeting the right people at the right time, and by drinking, again!

For the uninitiated what is sake?

Sake is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from rice, water and Kôji (a ferment of rice), it is Japan's multisecular traditional beverage and is a true totem of Japan’s culture.

What makes it special/unique/delicious?

The making process is definitely unique, but the true power of sake is its extreme versatility, its breadth of types, tastes and flavours is so wide you can virtually do sake pairings with literally anything edible.

What kind of flavour profiles do you encounter in the liquid?

Depending on the types of sake, it can go from extremely mellow and fruity to deep and intense umami with highly oxidative notes, it really covers all the flavour spectrum.

Can you tell us a bit about Junmai Sake, the type of sake we selected for our Sake + Yuzu Spritz?

Junmai sake translates roughly to “Pure Rice”, it means that sake has been brewed using only rice, water, kôji and yeast, no additives. After WWII, production of Junmai sake was prohibited to preserve the resources, therefore undiluted alcohol was added to sake batch to maximize yields and quality was hence impacted. Junmai was allowed again in 1969 and it is now a quality standard.

What other cool facts/details/intricacies make sake special?

As said, it is probably one of the most versatile drinks, allowing for incredible pairings, and it is also a beverage that you can enjoy from ice cold up to a simmering 70° depending on the sake of course.

What’s your favourite way to drink sake?

Depends on the mood, the food, and who I am drinking with, but I usually always drink it from sakeware, not from a glass.

What did you think of our drinks? Any favourites?

I think they are perfectly balanced drinks and extremely refreshing while very flavorful. I’d say it’s a tie between the Yuzu and the Cucumber. My Japanese master liked the Yuzu very much and he is not the complimentary type…

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