Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Brew Crew; Drink Prepare for a Summer of Sake Cocktails as the Capital Gets Its First Japanese-Style Rice Distillery, Says Samuel Fishwick

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Brew Crew; Drink Prepare for a Summer of Sake Cocktails as the Capital Gets Its First Japanese-Style Rice Distillery, Says Samuel Fishwick

Article excerpt

Byline: Samuel Fishwick

LONDON'S sake revolution is starting small. Kanpai, the first and only sake distillery in the UK, is housed in a micro-brewery in Peckham, nestled in a tiny warehouse, with no room to swing a bag of rice without bringing the whole business crashing to the ground.

It's a sweet operation. Lucy Holmes and Tom Wilson, the couple who run Kanpai, started out brewing in their spare room after a trip to Japan three years ago -- Kanpai means "cheers" in Japanese -- and only moved into their new space three months ago. "It's a hobby that got out of hand," says Holmes. "We started out having sake parties for friends and got a little carried away."

Next month they'll start selling their sake at Selfridges, while they hope the business will benefit from a crowdfunding campaign beginning this week. But the sweetest thing, sake aside, is that they're getting married this weekend, at the Asylum chapel in Peckham.

"We've had so many arguments in here that we feel we've fully betatested the relationship now," says Wilson. "There's a new-found respect you get for each other through working together," says Holmes. "Because you've never seen your partner work, right? No one even really knows what their partner does for a living. And you don't know how hard they work."

"Seeing Lucy put in 12 to 14-hour days when things have, literally, been hitting the fan has been really impressive," agrees Wilson.

Holmes, 29, and Wilson, 31, met first met at Chancery Lane tiki bar Kanaloa, "the one and only time either of us had ever been there", they say. "Lucy actually approached me with a yellow rose and used it as a microphone to interview," says Holmes. "I've no idea what I said. I tend to do unusual things." Unusual Continued on Page 30 Continued from Page 29 things such as opening a sake brewery, which their families think is "crazy" (although it runs in the family -- they recently discovered Wilson's grandfather brewed sake in a bathtub). "We've had a lot of judgey comments about looking like we're doing a cook in Breaking Bad," says Holmes. The drinks, which will be PS15 a pop, are gluten-free, preservative-free and vegan, which is admittedly next to useless unless they taste good. Fortunately, they do. "Sake sits between beer and wine," explains Wilson. "If you enjoy either of these things, there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy it."

There's dry " Like wines, whiskies and cognacs it carries signature flavour notes, and Wilson, who trained with a master brewer in Japan in February, pulls out "apple, melon, bubblegum". That comes from the sevenweek brewing process: in the abridged version, rice is washed and steamcooked, then mixed with yeast and koji and allowed to ferment.

which well fish sweeter take, summer day They currently sell two bottles -- the Junmai and the Nigori -- although each batch will be different. …

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