The SAKE KONTOR Story
The SAKE KONTOR story started in the summer of 2004 when a friend in Nagoya offered Susanne Rost-Aoki, the owner, a glass of the finest Daiginjō sake during a trip to Japan.
As a trained opera director, she was immediately able to recognise Japanese sake as its own art form. Perfectly clear, natural, minimalist and all from only two pure ingredients; rice and water.
So, surrounded by the impressive castle of Nagoya, the inspiring Tokugawa Art Museum and the Atsuta shrine the idea to create a premium import for Japanese sake was born. While also being a distributor for restaurants, retailers and private consumers, it aimed to provide an authentic representation of the Japanese sake culture.
Back in Berlin, the SAKE KONTOR was founded on 1st of October 2004, the International Sake Day. What followed were long periods of study, reading countless books, piles of notebooks filled to the brim with tasting notes, numerous trips to breweries, some in the most remote areas of Japan, many seminars and exams in Japan.
After a few years as a warehouse, distributor and online shop, SAKE KONTOR moved to its own shop in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg neighbourhood, just around the corner from Osthafen (East port) and the river Spree in October 2010. Japanese sake found, for the first time, a unique home for visitors from far and wide to enjoy.
Following numerous sake stands, many tasting sessions, countless lectures and seminars, and various publications of her own, Susanne Rost-Aoki had the opportunity to make her professional sake knowledge available in the first German book of its kind, a high-end design edition with professional photo production in Japan.
Her book „Sake – the drink of the gods” was published by the Hamburg publisher 99pages and became a national winner at the Gourmand Cookbook Award in Paris, as well as winning a Cookbook Award and the GAD (Gastronomische Akademie Deutschlands; Germany’s gastronomic academy) literary competition.
Today we love watching the fruits of our labour flourish and how sake’s popularity in Germany is still growing. Sake has yet to even reach its full potential. The sake scene in Japan continues to serve up new things so no one could ever get bored.
Susanne Rost-Aoki still looks forward to, now as much as ever, every single sake work of art that she enjoys and can pass on. Every sake is like music in a glass.
Susanne Rost-Aoki was born in Gießen and after living in Bonn, Hamburg, Lucerne and Basel settled in Berlin with her Japanese husband, who runs a Kendō school.
Susanne earnt her SEC Advanced Professional qualification in 2007 and 2008 from the Sake Education Council in Tokyo. She won the WSET Level 3 Award in sake and the Sake Contributor Award 2013, a prize awarded by the International Wine Challenge London and the Japanese Sake Samurai Association.
Our Sake Portfolio
We personally curate our sake selection from Japanese breweries. From there we can conjure up the beauty of Japanese sake and its exclusive culture and import it directly into your glass, maybe in your restaurant, or on the shelves of your shop.
Our range consists of exquisite high-end sake, specialities and seasonal sake from small breweries alongside everyday quality sakes. This allows us to show you an all-encompassing picture of the sake culture.
Our sake is properly transported from Japan in a refrigerated container so to maintain its quality. It arrives in large cold storage from which we deliver directly to you and our shop.
However, our personal product selection and fresh imports are not everything. We also offer in-depth advice and a comprehensive and broad range of services to all our customers.
This includes, for example, translating Japanese sake names into German or English, detailed information about the sakes and breweries. We can offer services like this in many different forms, for instance, by creating German labels or by sharing our knowledge at expert-led tasting sessions or seminars.
SEC Advanced Professional
WSET Level 3 Award in Sake
SSA Certified Sake