Introduction to Sake workshop

A thorough introduction to the world of sake in two to three hours, complete with two rounds of tasting to help you find your new favourite! Held on alternate months in central Zurich.

6 March 2024

and more dates to be announced

(usually held every second month)

Also available on demand as a private/corporate event.

Sake Socials

Informal evenings to enjoy a particular aspect of sake, such as temperature, food pairing, or sake from one brewery. Held on alternate months in central Zurich.

Next Sake Social TBC

Sake and tea pairings

Developed with Nico Colic of hedonisms, this workshop features four very different sake paired with Taiwanese, Chinese and Indian teas. A relaxed event that allows you to fully explore the world of flavors present in fine black teas, and how they interact with sake – it’s fascinating!

Private Introduction to Sake workshop

Hold the Introduction to Sake workshop for your friends, or a custom tasting.

Gift vouchers

Need a present for someone curious about sake? Give the gift of the Introduction to Sake workshop!

What is Discover Sake?

Discover Sake is a project that aims to:

  • Introduce sake to a new audience
  • Create tools for sake educators
  • Create tools for sake breweries to promote their business and products

Who’s behind Discover Sake?

Hi! My name is Arline Lyons.

When I’m not working on Discover Sake (creating resources or holding events) I’m a Japanese to English translator (Arline Lyons Translation) specialising in pharmaceuticals, and in translation, interpreting, research and event support for the sake industry (Taste Translation).

I fell under the spell of sake around the end of 2016 when an existing client in the wine industry started sending me material for translation about sake breweries. I did as much research as I could online, but felt I needed more to translate the material as accurately and meaningfully as possible – especially the tasting notes!

I was touched by the passion and dedication of the sake producers I met, many of whom are very small, family-owned businesses carrying on a traditional craft in the face of changing times. I wanted to help in some way, which first led to starting one year challenge to translate one Japanese news article about sake a day into English (October 2017 – October 2018) which still continues today with about five articles every two weeks (you can see the translated articles here).

I’m also developing a range of resources to help people take their first steps into the fascinating and varied world of sake – a simple introduction in the form of the Sake Spectrum infographic, the short and sweet Seven Days of Sake, an information-packed Pocket Guide to Sake, Sake Tasting Notebooks to record the journey, plus t-shirts and other accessories to celebrate your favourite styles.

I also hold an Introduction to Sake workshop and other themed sake events and tastings in Zürich, Switzerland, and offer private events in the area.

My qualifications include Sake Education Council (SEC) Advanced Sake Professional, Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award in Sake, Sake Service Institute (SSI) International Kikisake-shi, Japan Sommelier Association (JSA) Sake Diploma, Sake Scholar, JSS Academy 2023 and the Kurabito Stay brewery work experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Introduction to Sake workshop?

Introduction to Sake is a comprehensive three-hour workshop that introduces you to the basic spectrum of flavour that sake has to offer, everything from delicate and floral to rich and savoury. It introduces the Japanese sake classifications, including tastings to experience the full range and discover which part of the spectrum you prefer. It also presents a selection of different styles, covers the essentials of selecting, storing, pairing and serving, and you go away with a booklet with a summary of information, your own tasting notes and a list of where to buy sake! The workshop currently runs around every two months in Zurich, Switzerland. Check the Introduction to Sake page for dates and more details.

What makes Introduction to Sake different?

I do not sell sake and am not affiliated with any brewery or retailer, which means I’m not restricted in the range of sake I present at tastings. (Although I try to serve sake available in Europe so people who come to the workshops and tastings can buy it later!)
The aim of my events is to help you to discover and enjoy sake, so I choose the sake best suited to giving an overview of the range of flavour in sake or exploring a particular class, style or tasting question.

I have a different question!
Please email me! No question too big, small or silly.

What are the Sake Socials?

Sake Socials are more focused and explore a particular style, class or other facet of sake such as temperature or food pairing. They’re completely accessible to beginners, or anyone who wants to taste more sake and explore a particular feature.
Sake Socials are currently held around once every two months in Zurich, Switzerland. Check the website for dates and more details.

Can I buy sake at the event?

Some events (such as sake & chocolate pairing) will have some sake for sale.

Whether it’s available on the night or not, you’ll always get all the details for the sake you tasted, plus a list of where to drink sake in Zurich and where to buy sake locally and online.

I want to know more about sake!

If you want to find out even more about the wonderful world of sake, please visit Discover Sake’s sister site, Taste Translation, which has several hundred translated news articles about sake and related topics from the Japanese press translated into English.

Get in touch!

If you have a question not answered above, or want to talk about holding a private event, please get in touch.

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