Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS
In recent years, the spread of Japanese culture has exploded all around the world. Whether it be pop culture like anime and J-Pop or culinary delicacies like sushi and ramen, countries all over the world have seen shops selling these Japanese goods popping up in recent years. New Zealand, of course, is no exception to this. Many residents and tourists in New Zealand have enjoyed these Japanese products for many years. Sake, the national beverage of Japan, is also a prime example. New Zealand is no stranger to the world of wine, so many of its residents are even more likely to fall in love with this delicious drink.
With the rise of curiosity and exposure to Japanese sake, passionate business owners and importers of the beverage have made it easier for people in the Auckland area to get their hands on sake.
Whether you prefer enjoying sake with a meal in a restaurant, buying a bottle online, or comparing bottles in a liquor store, Auckland has many options to choose from. The following list of sake retailers is listed in alphabetical order.
Cahn’s Wines & Spirits is a local liquor store that opened in July 2019. The store specializes in providing an expertly-picked selection of the world’s wine and spirits. However, they do also have a selective arrangement of Japanese liquor including sake. One sake brand they provide is Zenkuro Sake, New Zealand’s first and only sake brewery located in Queenstown.
Cahn’s Wines & Spirits
10 O’Connell Street
Auckland CBD, 1010
Fine O Wine is a locally owned liquor store chain that was founded in October 2018. This chain specializes in offering natural, organic, and hand-crafted wines and other spirits from around the world. Their selection is also constantly growing and changing to make room for new additions. Although their sake selection is not as expansive as others, they offer a selective range of different bottles from around Japan to give curious customers plenty to choose from. Looking at an individual bottle of sake will show information like the alcohol content, tasting notes, the region of production, and any awards that a bottle has won. Some listings also include information about the brewery that produced a given bottle of sake to give newcomers some history behind the beverage.
Fine O Wine (Grey Lynn Location)
527 Great North Rd
Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021
(09) 378 1233
Glengarry Wines is a chain of liquor stores that was founded in 1945 and prides itself on its selection of high-quality, internationally produced wines. That said, despite their clear focus on wine, these stores also offer a decent selection of beer, ciders, and other spirits as well. When it comes to their sake selection, Glengarry Wines offers a variety of different brands and bottles, from around Japan, and New Zealand’s sake brand Zenkuro online. Many of the bottles of sake in their catalog are also available for same-day store delivery, meaning that customers don’t have to worry about a store being out of stock of a certain bottle. Glengarry Wines also offer virtual tastings of wine and spirits to those wanting to delve deeper into the world of enjoying alcoholic beverages.
Glengarry Wines (Victoria Park Location)
118 Wellesley St West
Auckland, New Zealand
(09) 308 8346
Kiwi Success was established in 2009 in Gisborne, originally as a buttercup squash exporter. However, in addition to selling products locally and internationally, they run ‘NZ Sake Club’, a networking club that shares how to enjoy learning about sake, Japanese food, and the rich culture and history of Japan. They understand that sake is still new to New Zealand, and want to help by providing information to the increasing number of people interested in sake. Kiwi Success is not a store or in Auckland, but a noteworthy establishment for the North Island of New Zealand.
Kiwi Success Trading Co. Ltd
30 Renner Road, Patutahi,
Gisborne 4072, New Zealand
Liquor Legends is a moderate, Auckland-based chain of liquor stores that offers a variety of alcoholic beverages from beer to whisky. There are three Liquor Legend locations in Auckland and each store offers quick delivery to the local area and across New Zealand. Although most of the catalog at this chain is composed of wine, Liquor Legends also has a section dedicated to alcohol from the Asian region specifically, which includes Japanese sake and their selection of sake includes plenty of popular varieties. Individual listings also offer serving recommendations and tasting notes to help newcomers decide which bottle to buy.
Liquor Legends (East Tamaki Location)
186 Te Irirangi Dr
Flat Bush, Auckland 2019
(09) 278 0044
Tokyo Liquor is a company that was founded in 2009 and is a subsidiary of Tokyo Food, the largest distributor of Japanese foods and beverages in New Zealand. As the name implies, Tokyo Liquor specializes specifically in spirits that are produced in Japan. They offer many kinds of Japanese shochu, beer, whisky, and, of course, sake. Their website separates sake by style, like junmai, ginjo, daiginjo, and nigori. Each section explains the characteristics of each style to help those new to sake choose a style they may prefer. Although Tokyo Liquor has three locations in the Auckland area, they also offer delivery as well, making it especially easy to get one’s hands on a quality bottle of sake.
Tokyo Liquor (Newmarket Location)
435 Khyber Pass Rd
Newmarket, Auckland 1023
(09) 522 8291
The Wine Cave is an event venue and online shop for those passionate about wine. They host a variety of events and offer catering services for various gatherings like tastings and educational workshops. These events are usually open to the public, but The Wine Cave also offers a free membership service that includes discounted pricing for said events. Furthermore, their online shop offers many kinds of wine to the Auckland area. This selection also includes a modest selection of sake as well that includes widely available and popular brands.
The Wine Cave
104 Carlton Gore Rd
Newmarket, Auckland 1023
(09) 930 8115
Many of the retailers above provide online purchases of their sake in addition to their in-store selection. However limited, there are online-only stores that have begun to provide sake to the locals of Auckland and the greater areas of New Zealand.
By the Bottle is an online shop dedicated to selling organic and biodynamic alcoholic beverages by the bottle or by the dozen. The store has a selective arrangement of bottles that focus on sourcing products from organic and biodynamic producers that reduce their footprint on the earth. In addition, they use sustainable materials and avoid excessive or unwanted packaging in delivery. Currently, they only have 4 different sake brands available. A selective arrangement, but still great news for sake fans that want to find as many different types of sake that they can buy online.
Although the number of stores and establishments that enable locals to buy sake in Auckland may be limited compared to other metropolitan cities in other countries, this number is increasing. With the opening of New Zealand’s first and only sake brewery, ‘Zenkuro’, sake will surely be more recognized and enjoyed by many more people in the future.