Oakland’s Ever-Evolving Den Sake Brewery

Experimentation and dedication drive this fledging but flourishing company

While most of the sakes that line the shelves at Oakland’s Umami Mart are made in Japan, Den Sake Brewery produces just two miles away. Until recently, the company made just one small, numbered batch at a time, garnering attention from sake enthusiasts and experts (the brand has twice been a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer). This year, …

Tippsy’s Monthy Sake Subscription Boxes

Founder Genki Ito wants to eliminate intimidation and encourage education around the Japanese tipple

Two years ago, Genki Ito walked into an entrepreneur class called Technology Feasibility at the University of California (USC) as he worked on his MBA. For his final project, he developed the concept for an online platform to sell the largest selection of sake in the United States. The result is Tippsy Sake, a subscription service that not only delivers the Japanese tipple to your …

Echo Park’s New Sake Bar, Ototo

A minimal but warm space that aims to make the Japanese tipple more approachable

Ototo is a venture for chef Charles Namba and sommelier Courtney Kaplan (of Tsubaki next door) to share their joint passion for sake and food. While Namba helms the kitchen, Kaplan is sharing her extensive knowledge of sake—telling vivid stories of breweries throughout Japan—and recommending sakes to bar-goers, who range from rookies to experts. The food and sake at Ototo (and the pairings that occur) may …