The SOMM Journal

October/November 2014

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Page 33 of 120

{ }  33 { in the spotlight } Q&A Dave Ramirez VP WEST, DAVOS BRANDS When did TY KU come about and who founded the brand? DR: The idea for TY KU arose in late 2004 from the founder's love and respect of the Asian culture. Their dream was to find the best saké in Japan and make it accessible to American consumers through a simple, pronounceable name (TY KU) and a distinc - tive, innovative package. Everyone has enjoyed saké at one time or another, like at their favorite sushi restaurant, but a majority of those consumers could not tell you what brand or what classification of saké they were enjoying. In American culture, saké has always been that "familiar mystery." TY KU is striving to help consumers solve that mystery and enjoy the purest alcohol on the planet. It wasn't until 2007 that the first bottles of TY KU were sold in the United States and that's when the adventure really began for the brand. Today, we are proud to have the finest saké made from Nara, Japan which is the birthplace of saké. Our toji (brewmaster) is Hiroji Kitaba, a multi-generational master brewer who is producing the finest, hand- crafted saké allowing TY KU to become the most awarded saké in the U.S. What are you most focused on for TY KU at the present? DR: We are currently focused on the culinary and food pairing aspects of TY KU. This has led to Chef Ming Tsai taking a more prominent role as a member of Team TY KU. His lifelong mission of bringing together the best of the East and the best of the West fits per - fectly with what TY KU is doing in the marketplace. Where do you see saké emerging in the marketplace? DR: More and more saké is being seen outside of the traditional sushi restaurants, where almost all consumers are first introduced to the beverage. With the growth of the category itself, TY KU can be found in chain stores, gastropubs and seafood restaurants. Mixologists are seeing potential in saké for cocktail innovation and wine sommeliers have grown fond of the beverage as we're seeing an increase in bottle offerings on wine lists. The reason for some of this growth is scientific: Saké contains 20 amino acids, more than any other alcoholic beverage, which plays a huge role in boosting "umami." Umami is considered the fifth sense and contributes to the more "savory" elements in cuisine. Increasingly, TY KU Saké is being added to wine lists to complement umami rich menus, in particular seafood pairings, because the amino acids enhance certain attributes of fish flavors, giving the consumer a much more pleasant dining experience. How is Ty Ku best served? Temperature? Glassware? DR: TY KU Saké is best served chilled in a wine glass. Much like a white wine, this method of consumption allows you to swirl the saké to release the aromas, experience the nose and savor the finish. What are your favorite food pairings with the various TY KU sakés? DR: Relating back to our partnership with Chef Ming Tsai, we have vetted a plethora of TY KU Saké and food pairings. TY KU Saké Silver (Junmai) pairs well with smoky, robust flavors, including grilled and barbequed meats. TY KU Saké Black (Junmai Ginjo) pairs well with full-flavored seafood, marinated meats and oven-roasted dishes. TY KU Saké White (Junmai Daiginjo) pairs well with pristine foods like beef or fish, and gen - tly poached dishes. TY KU Coconut Nigori pairs well with desserts and counterbalances spicy foods. How does one find more info about TY KU Saké? DR: We have a robust web - site containing recipes, pairing ideas and brand info: Also, find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! Q: Q: Q: Q: Q: Q: Davos Brands is the new parent company for TY KU Saké, ZYR Russian Vodka and The Real McCoy Rum. Here, Dave Ramirez discusses TY KU.

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