Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS
Sydney is one of the largest cities in all of Australia and is home to a wide range of iconic attractions that draw in tourists with diverse cultures from around the world. As such, you will find that some of these international cultures have made their way into the many different shops and stores in Sydney. Of course, Japanese culture is no exception. While there is certainly no shortage of restaurants offering classic Japanese fare like ramen and sushi, Sydney is also one of the few places in the world where you can experience a Japanese-style bathhouse and Japanese inn outside of Japan.
With so much Japanese cultural influence in Sydney, finding somewhere to find sake should not be a difficult task. In fact, the following selection of establishments showcases a few of the popular sake shops, liquor stores, importers, and online retailers that provide sake and more to those living in Sydney.
The following list includes a few different sake shops, liquor stores, and importers that offer a variety of different kinds of sake. These shops are listed in alphabetical order.
BWS (short for Beer, Wine, Spirits) is a major chain of liquor stores in Australia and has its headquarters located in Bella Vista, New South Wales. It is currently owned by the Endeavour Group, which was originally a part of the Woolworths Group that broke off into its own company in 2021. Since BWS was founded in 2001, the chain has built over 1,300 stores across Australia.
When it comes to sake, BWS has a selected range to choose from, such as bottles from Kizakura, Gekkeikan, and Seikyo. That said, these bottles of sake are great for beginners and the sheer number of BWS stores make them incredibly accessible to just about anyone living in Australia. To make things even better, BWS prides itself on its swift same-day delivery, making it a great choice if a customer needs sake as soon as possible.
BWS (Haymarket Location)
Corner of Quay St & Ultimo Road
Maymarket, New South Wales, 2000
(02) 8565 9299
Dan Murphy’s, much like BWS, is another chain of liquor stores that are owned by the Endeavour Group. That said, Dan Murphy’s has much more history behind it, as the chain’s first store opened in 1952. Since its first store opened its doors, Dan Murphy’s became a major player in the wine importing industry in Australia and made international spirits available to many local customers. Today the chain includes approximately 250 stores, many of which are located in Victoria and New South Wales.
The selection of sake available at Dan Murphy’s is modest, yet provides enough variety and accessibility to satisfy everyone. They also offer bottles of sake in cases of six for sake fanatics or those who simply want a bit of a discount for buying in bulk. Dan Murphy also offers delivery or in-store pickup for many of their products, including their sake.
Dan Murphy’s (Alexandria Location)
2/10 Fountain Street
Alexandria NSW 2015
1300 723 388
David Jones is a department store that was originally founded in Sydney in 1838, making it the oldest department store chain in the world that has kept its original name. Today the David Jones is owned by Woolworths Holdings Limited which, confusingly enough, has no connection to the Woolworths Group that owns BWS and Dan Murphy’s. Today, David Jones is composed of 45 different locations across Australia.
While David Jones certainly offers many different kinds of products ranging from clothing to kitchenware, you may be surprised to learn that they also provide a select selection of sake as well. Most of the sake that David Jones offers is under the Tengumai brand, which many believe is a great choice for those new to sake, yet tend to prefer drier drinks.
David Jones (Elizabeth Street Location)
86-108 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Deja Vu Sake is an importer of Japanese spirits that was founded by Yukino Ochiai and Andrew Cameron in 2012. After being in the business of wine distribution for nearly a decade, the two co-founders traveled around Japan to build an exceptional portfolio of sake that would show the best of what sake has to offer to those living in Australia. Deja Vu Sake also highly supports the idea of treating sake much like wine is in stores throughout Australia. Although the company only started out with five different brands of sake, their portfolio of brands has doubled since 2012.
Aside from importing sake and other Japanese alcoholic beverages, Deja Vu Sake is also a strong advocate of educating its customers about sake and the culture behind it. Co-founder Yukino Ochiai herself is an educator of sake and uses her extensive knowledge to teach others on the subject. The Deja Vu Sake website has several articles and videos regarding the production and types of sake, making it easier for newcomers to learn more about sake before they take the plunge and buy their first bottle. This is made even easier when searching their catalogue of sake, as they list every type of sake they import and include information like tasting notes, level of sweetness, recommended serving temperature, and food pairings.
Honda Sake Bar & Dining is another Japanese restaurant that is located in the St. Leonards suburb of Sydney. The sake bar itself offers daily assortments of sushi and sashimi, as well as other popular Japanese classics like edamame, curry, gyoza dumplings, rice bowls, katsu cutlets, and more. Honda Sake Bar & Dining also has the Mino Sake Shop, a secondary store within the main restaurant that sells sake and other types of wine.
Despite being a smaller part of a larger store, Mino Sake Shop boasts over 50 different kinds of sake from breweries all over Japan. Although their selection of sake is not listed on their website, the store regularly posts updates about recent additions on their social media.
Honda Sake Bar & Dining / Mino Sake Shop
7-9 Albany Street
St. Leonards NSW 2065
0429 824 494
JFC (Japan Food Corporation) is an international wholesaler, distributor, and importer of Japanese food products that is owned by Kikkoman. Since its founding in 1958 in San Francisco, California, it has become a massive figure in the international Japanese food and beverage industry. While their catalog of products certainly includes a wide array of products from Kikkoman, they also supply stores and restaurants with a sizable selection of sake. Whether one may prefer junmai, junmai ginjo, junmai daiginjo, nigori, or any other kind of sake, JFC likely helps stock stores with something to please your palate.
The JFC website also has their entire 72-page sake catalog available for everyone to view. This catalog lists every single bottle and cask of sake they have available and gives details about their individual region, tasting notes, and more. As a wholesaler and importer, the average person may not need to purchase from JFC directly. That said, their products are likely fairly easy to find in your local restaurants and liquor stores.
Lane Cove Business Park Building C1
16 Mars Road, NSW 2066
(02) 9429 8010
Just Liquor Cellars is a liquor store in the Ashfield suburb of Sydney, which is one of the more multicultural neighborhoods in the city. Although the store offers many different kinds of liquor, beer, and other spirits from around the world, Just Liquor Cellars has a particular focus on alcoholic beverages from Asia, including Japanese sake.
A significant selection of Just Liquor Cellars’ collection is available to view and purchase on their website. Their listings for bottles of sake often have important information that is translated into English, something that a customer would usually not have access to without further research. Examples of this information include brand and brewer name, production region, as well as levels of acidity, sweetness, richness, and aromas.
Just Liquor Cellars
281 Liverpool Road
Ashfield NSW 2131
(02) 9798 9417
Le Pont Wine Store was founded in August 2016 by a group of Australians who simply loved drinking wine and wished to spread their love and wisdom of the drink to others. Le Pont takes great care when selecting the wines they offer. While they certainly have many delicious wines from Italy and France, Le Pont also makes sure to save room on their shelves for wine that is produced right in Australia and New Zealand as well.
While sake may not be their specialty, Le Pont does offer a few different bottles, notably a bottle of honjozo sake from Tsukinokatsura and a bottle of Kenbishi Kuromatsu. To make things interesting, however, Le Pont offers a limited number of virtual tastings with Yukino Ochiai, the Sake Samurai who co-founded Deja Vu Sake. These tasting kits include four types of sake and are offered to celebrate the beginning of a new brewing season.
Le Pont Wine Store (Milsons Point Location)
Shop 2, 88 Alfred Street
Milsons Point, NSW 2061
(02) 9929 8609
Prince Wine Store (PWS) was founded by Michael McNamara and Alex Wilcox who, much like the founders of Le Pont Wine Store, created a business solely because of their passion for wine. As such, they carry only the best wines around the world for reasonable prices to share them with their fellow Australians. They import their wine from many different places, from France and Italy, to California and New Zealand.
Of course, they would not earn a spot on this list if they did not sell sake as well! PWS also offers a modest, yet varied catalog of sake that appeals to many different preferences. Their selection comes in sizes from 180ml to 720ml and includes bottles from the dry and fruity Yoshinogawa Gensen Karakuchi to the rich and spicy Tengumai Yamahai Jikomi Junmai.
Prince Wine Store (Sydney Location)
40 Hansard Street (Corner of Dunning Avenue)
(02) 9663 4665
Tokyo Mart is a store that offers a wide variety of products from food, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, cookware, and much more. Its original goal when it was founded in 1976 was to help make quality Japanese ingredients more available to the Australian population, as interest in Japanese cooking was growing at the time. This interest continued to grow as time went on, causing Tokyo Mart to become a store with one of the widest selections of sake in Sydney.
Although Tokyo Mart is a physical store, their website has an online catalog that includes hundreds of different kinds of sake for customers to view. Nearly every listing includes a picture of the bottle, carton, or can of sake in question, as well as a short description to help the customer decide if it is for them or not. No matter what your preferences may be, Tokyo Mart will likely have something that any sake drinker can enjoy.
Shop 27, Northbridge Plaza
113 Sailors Bay Road
Northbridge NSW 2063
(02) 9958 6860
Vintage Cellars is a chain of liquor and wine stores that is owned by the Coles Group, which also owns Coles Supermarkets, which happens to be the biggest chain of supermarkets in Australia. Compared to the other liquor store chains owned by the Coles Group, Vintage Cellars is focused more on fine wines and other higher-end spirits. That said, the chain also offers several different brands of sake, like Sasanokawa, Kizakura, Gekkeikan, and Dewazakura. Delivery is also available for many of the products offered by Vintage Cellars.
Vintage Cellars (Darlinghurst Location)
61-65 Oxford Street
(02) 9121 7808
While it may be nice to go out somewhere and pick up a nice bottle of sake, ordering a bottle online might give you more variety with the added convenience of not having to leave home. The following list is also in alphabetical order.
Sakenet Australia is an importer of Japanese sake that was founded by Sakae Takahashi in 2008. Prior to its creation, however, Sakae ran a yakiniku shop in Sydney named Toriciya. In his free time, he would learn more about sake through books and magazines until he decided to travel to Japan and visit sake breweries. This led him to fall in love with sake, which in turn caused him to want to bring more sake with him to share with his customers in Australia. Doing so normally, however, was incredibly expensive, as he had to go through other importing companies to buy sake. As such, he created Sakenet to eliminate the middleman and create an avenue for customers to purchase quality sake for reasonable prices.
When it comes to the catalog of sake that Sakenet provides, you will see that they specialize in sake that is aged, served warm, and made only with rice and water. This is because Sakae was greatly influenced by Hiroshi Uehara, who believed that the art of junmai (“pure rice”, sake made with rice, water, and koji) was dying and wished to revitalize it. This led to a renaissance of junmai, jukusei (aged), and kan (heated) sake. Sakae has since retired from running Sakenet and has left it with his eldest son, Rey, and his son-in-law, Taka.
Sakeshop is an online marketplace that is based in Stanmore, Sydney, and was founded by the owners of Chef’s Armoury, an importer of Japanese cookware. The online marketplace offers many different kinds of sake but strives to focus on bringing smaller, artisanal brewers into the limelight. Aside from their online shop, Sakeshop’s physical location holds classes and events to help promote the awareness and education of Japanese sake for those in Sydney.
The collection of sake on Sakeshop’s website hosts approximately 100 different bottles that can each be filtered in a variety of ways. Some of these filters include price, new additions, serving temperature, tasting notes, level of sweetness, brand, and region. Online orders through Sakeshop can be shipped all over Australia and are shipped on Tuesdays and Fridays.
105-107 Percival Road
Stanmore NSW 2048
(02) 7226 5885
Supersake Australia is another online shop that provides sake, shochu, and other Japanese alcoholic beverages to residents of Australia. The founders try to buy directly from breweries and distilleries in Japan to make sake as affordable as possible for the consumer. Aside from alcohol, Supersake also offers various kinds of sake carafes and cups as well, making it easier for Australian residents to enjoy sake the way it is enjoyed in Japan. Supersake also offers an overview of sake, its history, and the brewing process for those who are new to sake and want to learn more.
Their online selection is split up into the type of drink it is (i.e. sake, umeshu, shochu, etc.). The sake section is further split into different subsections like recommended serving temperature, brand, and classification. Pictures of the container and other relevant information regarding a given sake listing also help customers choose the sake that is perfect for them.
18 Glyde Street
Mosman Park Perth, WA 6012
0422 780 661
Interest in Japanese cuisine and culture has been slowly growing in Sydney for some time now, likely thanks in part to some of the dedicated founders of Japanese shops providing delicious sake and Japanese food to its customers. Today, finding sake in Sydney is not that difficult of a task, assuming you know where to go.
With this list, hopefully, it is clear just how simple it is to get your hands on high-quality and reasonably sourced sake. Whether it is going to pick up a bottle from a local store or getting it delivered right to your door, buying sake in Sydney couldn’t be easier!