London gets its first saké on tap

We’ve had craft cocktails and frizzante Prosecco on tap, now the latest drink to get the keg treatment is saké, which is being served on tap at The Arts Club in Mayfair.

The Arts Club in Mayfair is pioneering saké on tap, imported in keg by saké sommelier Sayaka Watanabe

As reported by the Evening Standard, the private members’ club in London’s affluent Mayfair district is the first place in the UK to serve saké on tap. The rice wine is served from an Imari porcelain ceramic tap, sitting on the bar at The Arts Club’s new 80-seater Japanese restaurant, Kyubi.

The saké tap at Kyubi at The Arts Club in Mayfair

The club’s saké sommelier, Sayaka Watanabe, is behind the idea, and has imported a still unpasteurised saké in kegs from Japan to be served from the tap.

The saké will be served in 150ml cups matching the tap’s intricate design. A single cup will cost £7.50.

“I was fortunate to be at the beginning of a saké trend in London 15 years ago, and I wanted to explore the idea of doing something new with saké.

“I had this idea to import unpasteurised saké in beer kegs and serve it in a beer tap. I started not knowing whether it would change the flavour and not work, so I’m very relieved and excited that it is working well,” Watanabe told the Standard.

“We wanted to import in a keg because in recent years saké has been quite costly.

“Even if you go to a Japanese restaurant and want to try it, a house bottle would cost around £40, and I really wanted to offer saké by the glass at a similar level to wines by the glass, and in order to do that we had to look at importing a bigger quantity.

“I want the members and the guests to enjoy saké on tap and in cocktails. I like to think it will take off around London,” Watanabe added. Britain’s thirst for saké is growing – last year the UK imported £2.27million worth of the Japanese rice wine to its shores.

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