Sake Promotion by Ambassador Monji, May - June 2017


1. Attendance to opening ceremony of a LCBO retail store

On May 10, Ambassador Monji attended the opening ceremony of a retail store of the LCBO (Ontario provincial liquor regulation public corporation) which opened at a new location in Nepean, a suburb of Ottawa. On this occasion he was greeted by Dr. George Soleas, President and CEO of the LCBO.

In the welcome by the LCBO, there was an introduction detailing that seven types of sake were stocked in addition to three usual types in accordance with the Ambassador’s visit.


With Dr. George Soleas, the President and CEO of the LCBO




Sake in the new retail store of the LCBO



2.Japanese sake lecture to LCBO executives and dinner with sake tasting

On 24th May, Ambassador spoke to LCBO executives and district managers for about one hour on sake at the LCBO Eastern Regional District Manager meeting, in response to a request from the LCBO.

Also, that evening, he hosted them at the Ambassador's Residence, where they tasted the compatibility of Japanese cuisine and Japanese sake.

For many participants the pairing of Japanese food and sake was a new experience; they were amazed at the appeal of Japanese cuisine, and its diversity and versatility in combination with Japanese sake.


The lecture by Ambassador







Sake at dinner



3.Discussion with LCBO President and CEO

On June 1, Ambassador Monji visited the LCBO Headquarters in Toronto and met for an hour with President and CEO Dr. Soleas. Ambassador Monji requested cooperation from the LCBO on the promotion of sake in Canada, and the President and CEO of the LCBO responded positively. The discussion also referred to specialty items in the making of sake such as the role of koji, yeast and lactic acid, storage temperature, and compatibility with cuisine.

Dr. Soleas explained that high alcohol products of East Asia, especially sake, were recently included in two LCBO retail stores in Markham, in the northern part of Toronto. Ambassador Monji visited these retailers on June 2 and exchanged opinions with the store managers.


With Dr. George Soleas, President and CEO of the LCBO




Japanese Sake at the East Asia boutique in a LCBO retail store



4.Attendance of Kampai Toronto

On June 1, Ambassador Monji participated in Canada's largest sake event; "Kampai Toronto", sponsored by the Sake Institute of Ontario (SIO).

First, he attended as a panellist with four other international Sake Samurais at a sake tasting seminar for business and media by the JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) Toronto office, and cosponsored by the Sake Institute of Ontario. The Sake Samurais who participated in the seminar were:
Mr. John Gauntner (living in Japan and the United States),
Mr. Elliot Faber (living in Hong Kong),
Mr. Antony Moss (living in the UK),
Ms. Chizuko Niikawa-Helton (living in the United States).
Mr. Faber is also a Canadian Sake Samurai.

After opening remarks by the organizer, the JETRO Toronto Executive Director and Ambassador Monji, and an explanation on how to taste sake by a Sake Samurai, five international Sake Samurais each explained different sake and tasted it with the participants. The five Sake Samurais received many questions from the about 50 participants including restaurant owners, sommeliers, LCBO officials, and food and wine journalists, etc.

After the seminar, Ambassador Monji exchanged opinions with the other Sake Samurais and members of the SIO about the obstacles and measures, etc., in promoting sake in Canada.

Afterwards, Ambassador Monji participated in the general events of Kampai Toronto and exchanged views with a brewer from Japan and other participants. In this event 65 brewers from Japan participated and 119 kinds of sake were offered. More than 600 participants enjoyed many kinds of sake and paired cuisine.


Panellists of the Japanese sake tasting seminar (5 international Sake Samurais)




Participants of the seminar



Ambassador Monji spoke at the seminar

With Sake Samurais and the staff of Kampai Toronto



The general event of Kampai Toronto


5.The film event "Kampai! For the Love of Sake" and sake tasting (June 7th)


6.Dinner with the President and CEO of LCBO

On July 12, Ambassador Moji invited Dr. George Soleas, the President and CEO of the LCBO, and the Senior Vice President of Retailing and Chief Client Officer of the LCBO to his Residence for a dinner party, with Ms. McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, and her spouse, and Mrs. Coninsx, the EU Ambassador to Canada, and her spouse, sommeliers, and wine writers who participated in the Japanese sake film event in June, offering Japanese cuisine with matched Japanese sake.

They sampled and enjoyed the characteristics of sake and their compatibility with food, as referred to during a conversation with Dr. Soleas on June 1. The guests were surprised at the diversity of sake and the good flavour combinations of sake and Japanese cuisine.

We also exchanged opinions on ways of promoting sake in Canada in the future, and continued cooperation between the Embassy and the LCBO.






With Ms. McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, Dr. George Soleas, the President and CEO of the LCBO



Japanese sake and other Japanese alcohol offered
(including private stock)