Enjoy the refreshing and delightful taste of sake wherever you want
Throughout this past year, there has been a canned cocktail renaissance. The usual suspects include spiked seltzer, canned wine, vodka based cocktails, tequila based cocktails, and more. But it is rare to find a truly innovative idea when it comes to this canned cocktail industry. In comes WESAKE, a canned sake drink that light, refreshing, and has a delightful fruity taste. The creator of WESAKE, Pablo Rivera, wanted to create a canned sake drink so that sake becomes more accessible. No longer will you have to go out to a Japanese restaurant to have your favorite sake. Now you can order your own 4 pack of WESAKE and enjoy the delicious drink from the comfort of your home. We had the wonderful opportunity to connect with Pablo Rivera and pick his brain on how he came up with the WESAKE idea and how he makes this drink so delicious.
The Knockturnal: Walk us through the moment you realized you wanted to create a canned sake drink. Where were you and what was going through your mind at the time?
Rivera: I got the inspiration for WESAKE when spending time in Tokyo and exploring all of the sake bars in Shinjuku, an area of Tokyo stacked with tiny sake bars, each with just enough room for a few friends, the bartender, and the owner – if they weren’t already one and the same. I thought that more people should be able to experience sake this way. Easygoing, delicious, rambunctious nights out with sake were just not easy to come by in the U.S.
At this point, I had spent a good part of my career working with disruptive beverage brands for AB InBev/ZX Ventures and wanted to next reshape the way we enjoy sake. I realized how sake has everything modern consumers are looking for in products. It’s a unique beverage and a category of its own, that remains a big mystery for most American consumers, it has years of tradition and heritage with an authentic connection to Japanese culture and with asian cuisine, and it’s one of the cleanest alcoholic beverages out there, made with only 4 simple and clean ingredients. So I created WESAKE because I strongly believe sake is a fresh, exciting and versatile beverage that deserves to be an option at any social occasion.
The Knockturnal: How is WESAKE made? And what are some of the ingredients used to make this canned drink?
Rivera: We produce our sake using a traditional brewing method that has been perfected for the last 280 years by our partners in Kobe Japan. The process starts in the rice fields in Tagocho Japan, where rice grains are carefully grown for 6 months by local farmers. Rice is then transported to Kobe Japan, a famous sake-brewing hub given its ideal climate and pristine water sources.
We brew Junmai Ginjo style sake because it’s elegant enough for seasoned sake drinkers, but also bright, fun and easy for all those who are starting to drink it. The word Junmai literally means “Pure Rice,” pointing to the fact that this style is made with only 4 clean and simple ingredients: water, rice, yeast, and koji, a fermentation starter used in soy sauce and miso soup. Our sake is gluten free, vegan and keto friendly, non-gmo, and sulfite free, so it is a very clean product.
Once our Junmai Ginjo sake is ready, we put it in a can so it can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere.
The Knockturnal: How does WESAKE differ from other sake brands?
Rivera: When I started diving into the sake category, I quickly realized that most consumers are either intimidated by it or have no idea how to navigate it. Everyone I spoke to told me they knew about sake, that they enjoyed it as well, but couldn’t name a single brand, style, or general knowledge about the category.
So our brand is all about making sake easier, approachable, and more accessible to the growing number of consumers looking for more authentic and cleaner alcoholic options. Everything we do is based on the mission to take sake beyond the sushi bar and into our most memorable moments.
We launched our first product in the can format so we could make our brand a bit friendlier. But, more than anything build on the idea that sake pairs well with literally anything and can be enjoyed on so many more occasions that the one’s where sake is usually consumed right now.
The Knockturnal: Should WESAKE be served warm or cold?
Rivera: We recommend it chilled, as this will accentuate the delicate fruity flavors and aromas, and makes it very light and easy to drink. It can also be enjoyed warm and some customers love it this way, but the general rule is that premium style sake, like our Junmai Ginjo, should be enjoyed chilled.
The Knockturnal: The allure of canned cocktails is that it allows people to take drinks on the go. Why do you think it’s important to make a drink like sake more accessible?
Rivera: I experienced firsthand how such a clean, simple yet elegant beverage like sake can help elevate any moment. Putting it in a can helps drinkers easily try it and add to their lifestyle. The sake category is often mysterious to American drinkers and seen as an epicurean option, but canning the classic Japanese drink means more people can take it on the go, and explore exciting options in the ready-to-drink category.
Sake hits the sweet spot of being less acidic than wine, more gentle than spirits and less bloating than beer. I hope WESAKE encourages more people to experience the versatility and deliciousness of sake.
The Knockturnal: Where can people buy WESAKE currently?
Rivera: We sell and ship WESAKE nationally through our website, https://wesake.co/, and it is available in wine and spirits retailers in NY, CA, CT, GA, WI.
The Knockturnal: What is next for WESAKE? Any new flavors coming down the line?
Rivera: We’re working very hard to better understand our consumers and offer an authentic portfolio of products that can really make sake a part of every social occasion. At the moment our main focus is on expanding the footprint of our existing canned Junmai Ginjo, reaching more consumers, and developing stronger partnerships with our distributors and retailers. We do have some new product ideas in our pipeline for the second half of the year, but nothing confirmed yet. We’ll keep you posted!