Texan turning Japanese sake into a Lone Star tipple

Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:01am EST
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By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - What could be more Texas than this? Rice grown in Texas fields first planted by settlers more than a century ago, processed by a Texan in the heart of the capital, Austin, and sold under the product name "Rising Star."

Welcome to the world of the Texas Sake Company, almost certainly the first - and most certainly the only - commercial brewer of the Japanese rice wine operating in the Lone Star State.

Yoed Anis, 30, founder, president and brewmaster of the company started in 2011, applies traditional Japanese methods to make his sake, while dialing up the flavor to reflect the character of the state.

"We want it big and bold," he said. "It is a Texan sake, and appropriately made for being that."

Anis got into the business because he loved the drink and wanted to show that sake could be a 100 percent Texas product.

His "Rising Star" is a nigori sake, a coarsely filtered variety that looks cloudy in the glass, is slightly sweet on the tongue, and pairs well with barbecue.

Anis also offers a dry sake called "Tumbleweed" that drinks slightly like a white wine, and the full-bodied "Whooping Crane" that's a bit more acidic than the typical Japanese offerings.

Japanese-style rice for sake came with immigrants more than 100 years ago, when a handful of Japanese settlers moved into the state and began planting the crop to the south and east of Houston. There are no records to indicate whether they brewed sake.   Continued...