Sake Day (Nihonshu no Hi, 日本酒の日) Is much more than a party put on by True Sake SF, or a celebration at Sakaya NYC (although both of those are an awesome way to celebrate Sake Day!).
First "why October 1st?"
- The Kanji (Japanese symbol) for Sake 酒 is made up of two parts: the three lines on the right, representing water, and the covered box part on the left 酉, which represents a Sake jug or pot. The progression from pot to Sake is believed to have gone something like this:
- In Japan we use a really confusing system (for those who are not used to it) for marking the date of production for sake. Some of you out there may be saying "Oh yeah, I've heard of that, the Imperial calendar, Heisei year 21 and all that, old news." That is only part of the story. In fact, just to confuse you Roman Calendar only people out there, the sake world uses three labeling systems. The Roman Calendar, the Imperial Calendar, and to top it off The BY Calendar (Short for Brewers Year).
The Brewers Year calendar is about 6 months behind the Imperial calendar, so that the start of the brewers calendar is July (Meaning that the sake you have been drinking all year was made in BY 20 and the sake they are about to start brewing will be BY 21). Why is this important? Before 1965 the start of the brewers year was October 1st! In 1965 in order to better accommodate an earlier brewing season, as technology was Changing to allow it, the National Brewers Association of Japan Changed the start of the brewing year to July 1st.