Fuyu Fest 2024- Press Release

A PNW Sake Festival & Winter Celebration

Date: Saturday, January 20th, 2024
Time: 1-2PM Food, shopping & early check-in; 2-5PM official event 
Location: Olympic Mills Building, 107 SE Washington St. entrance
Cost before January 5th: $70 General Admission, $90 with commemorative handmade sake cup 
Cost after January 5th: $77/ $97 (while supplies last)
Website/tickets: fuyufest.org

    Fuyu Fest is a Winter-themed sake and culture festival in Portland, Oregon entering its second year. At the festival, you can taste over 65 different styles of craft Japanese sake alongside cultural, educational, food and art experiences.

    Fuyu Fest is an exploration of the exciting space where Japanese and Pacific Northwest culture meet. Local mixologists will be sharing their experiments with sake cocktails, an expert Tokyo okan (hot sake) specialist will demonstrate their methods and philosophy, experts will discuss sake culture and history, and much more. A special winter-themed menu will be offered by small local food vendors as well as koji coffee and sake-inspired desserts.

    Fuyu Fest is the Pacific Northwest's only sake festival and the best opportunity to taste dozens of sake while learning more about this fascinating historic beverage.

    According to Nina Murphy, organizer and founder of Fuyu Fest, "Sake follows a seasonal calendar, not unlike fresh hop beers in Fall and chocolate stouts in Winter. In Japan, Winter is the most popular season for sake: breweries are hard at work, fresh sake (shinshu) is hitting the market, and warm sake (okan) is paired with hot soups, noodles, snow watching and hot spring soaks. At Fuyu Fest we explore the connection between sake and Winter, delivering cozy joy to an audience of 400 in the coldest time of year." 

    A wide variety of Japanese imports will be available to taste, but also samples from our local, West Coast American craft breweries. Midori Nakazawa of Sake One (Forest Grove) will be sharing Momokawa, while Andrew Neyens returns for his second year to share Tahoma Fuji Sake (Seattle).

    Brewery owners and representatives from four different Japanese sake breweries will also be present to share in the festivities and pour sake for guests. Tenzan Shuzo, makers of Shichida brand (Saga), Nate Shuzoten, makers of Kuroushi (Wakayama), Choryo Shuzo, makers of Choryo Taruzake (Nara), and Heiwa Shuzo, makers of KID (Wakayama), have flown in from Japan and will be sharing the love of all things sake with attendees. 

    "There is no one more passionate about sake than its makers, and they want to hear directly from you, the sake lover, what you think of their product. In many cases, these breweries have existed for hundreds of years serving local customers. They are so happy to see their sake being appreciated overseas.” 

    For 2024, Fuyu Fest is expanding on its demos and activities program by collaborating with experts to expand the conversation around sake. The headlining demonstration is from Tokyo-based sake warming expert Okan Lover, who will be sharing his unique philosophy and vision for modern okan with translation from Tohoku guide Kohei Kojima. Sake cocktail demos from mixologists Jim Meehan (author of Meehan’s Bartender Manual) and Katsumi Manabe (Scotch Lodge) will explore new ways of interpreting sake’s flavors and textures, while a fish breakdown demonstration from local chef Jun Okada inspires ideas for sake and fish pairing at home.  Finally, experts in their field will host a variety of talks, classes and panel discussions on the past and future of sake.

    Continuing last year’s tradition of offering a commemorative, handmade sake cup to attendees, for 2024 the $20 ticket upgrade provides a red clay and sage glazed ochoko (sake cup) from local artist Yula Ceramics (https://yula-ceramics.square.site). Yula will also be selling additional ceramic wares along with last year’s featured artist, Michelle Sparnicht (https://sparnicht.com/) and others.

    "To make sake our own in the Pacific Northwest, It's important to take inspiration from Japanese sake culture and respectfully add our spin on it. With all the artists and creatives in Portland, the potential for innovation and reinvention is huge. By having a local ceramic artist produce beautiful, handcrafted ochoko-- sake cups-- for attendees, Fuyu Fest is not only making a statement about culture creation but also about its values. Supporting artists, combatting throw-away culture, and investing in the local economy are all part of the Fuyu Fest ethos."

    Each guest will receive a snack pack of Japanese-made rayu senbei and wasabi crackers from Drinking Buddy, whose generous partnership has made this possible. We’ll also have Imo Madoi, a new Portland business, sampling their vegetable chips from Kobe, Japan at the Kobe Club table. In addition, we’ve partnered with several local businesses to provide more substantial dishes and sweets.

    "We've partnered once again with our good friends Obon Shokudo to offer wholesome, vegan Winter onigiri and kenchinjiru, as well as Kelsey Miguel of Not Umami’s Cooking to share a range of Winter dishes inspired by her Japanese-PNW heritage. Hey Day Mochi Donuts and Yellow Heart Sunshine Bakery will sell their signature sweets while Electrica PDX will be serving pourovers with koji-fermented beans, as well as regular drip coffee. It’s a recipe for a perfect pre- or post-sake snack.”

    When you're done with tasting, talks, vendors and artists, you'll have the opportunity to purchase the sake you loved at Fuyu Fest for 10% off the retail price. It's a great chance to stock up for the rest of the Winter season. 

    In keeping with Fuyu Fest's values, 20% of all ticket revenues will be donated to Ikoi no Kai, a nonprofit lunch program primarily serving the senior Japanese-American community in Portland. Fuyu Fest and its sponsors are proud to support Ikoi no Kai, acknowledging the contributions of the elder nikkei community in forming Portland's cultural identity.

    Note that this event is strictly limited to ages 21+ and identification will be checked at entry. Please drink responsibly.

    About Sunflower Sake

    Sunflower Sake was founded in 2021 as a retail store, tasting room and educational center to share the beauty of Japanese sake with Portland. After a 6-month stint at Dame Collective, Sunflower moved into a permanent location in October 2022 where it continues to serve locals with flights, warm carafes, bottles and club memberships. Sunflower founded Fuyu Fest in 2023 to continue sharing the joy of sake and to resume the legacy of PDX Sake Fest. The inaugural event saw 200 attendees and 55 different sake pours.

    Sliding scale

    Media, F&B/hospitality, and other guests interested in attending but unable to afford the cost, are encouraged to contact the organizer at nina@sunflowersake.com for a sliding-scale ticket.

    Vendors and sponsors

    • Republic National Distributing Company
    • Kome Collective
    • JFC Imports
    • Sakeman
    • Joto Sake 
    • Choryo Shuzo
    • Shichida Shuzo
    • Nate Shuzoten
    • Dassai
    • Fifth Taste Sake
    • Sake Suki
    • Heiwa Shuzo
    • Floating World Imports
    • Coho Imports
    • Pacific International Liquor
    • Mitchell Wine Group
    • Niigata Sake Selections
    • Casa Bruno Wines
    • East West Wine Trading
    • Julian Sinclair
    • Zev Rovine Selections
    • Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits
    • World Sake Imports
    Demos, Activities and Experiences:
    • Okan Lover
    • Jim Meehan, Mixography
    • Katsumi Manabe, Scotch Lodge
    • Jun Okada, GinRin
    • Kat Lachenal
    • Yula Ceramics
    • Michelle Sparnicht
    Food and N/A beverages:
    • Obon Shokudo
    • Not Umami’s Cooking
    • Hey Day Mochi Donuts
    • Electrica 
    • Yellow Heart Bakery

    Nina Murphy nina@sunflowersake.com, 831-346-9465
    Dennis Murphy, dennis@sunflowersake.com, 424-386-9593

    A+A, Event planners:
    AKIKO NAKAMURA, acco.pdx@gmail.com
    Ayako Yokoo, ayakoayako@gmail.com 



    Poster- 300 dpi resolution (email Nina for 600 dpi)
    Artist credit: Maria C Frantz (they/them) @mariacfrantz

    Fuyu Fest 2024 Vendor Highlight
    Artist credit: Maria C Frantz (they/them) @mariacfrantz

    Fuyu Fest 2023 Press Album (please email Nina for additional photos)
    Photographer credit: Josh Chang, Foundry 503

    Collage- long
    Photographer credit: Josh Chang, Foundry 503

    Collage- short 
    Photographer credit: Josh Chang, Foundry 503

    Okan Lover-- service

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