Kyoto Fushimi Sake Cider

Yamamoto Honke sake brewery, established in 1677, is a among the oldest sake breweries in Fushimi, the sake brewing district of Kyoto. On June 1st of this year, Yamamoto Honke released a new and novel sake product: Kyoto Sake Cider.

Cider in Japan is a popular soft drink and is very unlike what we think of as apple cider in the West. It is a carbonated drink that is lightly flavored with fruit. It is quite similar in taste to 7-Up and Sprite. Ramune, is essentially Japanese cider and was the first carbonated soft drink in Japan. Cider can still be purchased in nostalgic bottles from a bygone era.

Kyoto Fushimi Sake Cider

Nostalgic Kyoto Sake Cider Bottle

Kyoto Fushimi Sake Cider

Nostalgic Kyoto Sake Cider Bottle - detail

The sake breweries in Japan are struggling because they didn’t develop and improve their products, techniques and business models in recent decades and now sake has largely been marginalized by beer and shochu. Many sake breweries, facing declining sales every year are playing catch-up now and trying to come up with new and novel products, especially ones that will appeal to people that don’t drink sake now.

Kyoto Fushimi Sake Cider

Kyoto Sake Cider

Yamamoto Honke says that they wanted to make a sake product that people could enjoy casually and would be thirst quenching in the summer.

While I don’t think that this product is going to change the sake world, and it is not very ‘Kyoto’, I did like it. I like the nostalgic nod to traditional cider with this product. The ‘label’ is screen printed right on the bottle, it is hard to read, but evokes the era when cider was the only carbonated drink in all the land.

The taste is half sake and half fruity cider, quite an interesting combination. The alcohol content is 5.5%, but I hardly noticed the alcohol. For a 250 ml bottle the price is 389 yen.

It is one of the new and interesting products developed in Kyoto, but I think that it is a ‘one off’ kind of product. Despite being tasty and attuned to summer, I wonder if it will be around next summer.

Kyoto Fushimi Sake Cider

Kyoto Sake Cider Bottle

3 Responses to “Kyoto Fushimi Sake Cider”

  1. Japundit says:

    Story added…

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  2. Nils von Barth says:

    Thanks for the tip Michael!

    I can confirm that it’s still on sale (as of 2011 Feb) (admittedly, it’s currently a bit cold to properly enjoy this) – the main Yamamoto Honke store (山本本家本店) in Fushimi (伏見区) features it very prominently in their window, and there are now two flavors: original and grape (ぶとう).

    The shop:

    …is right next to (and connected with?) the main store of Torisei (鳥せい), an excellent chicken store, so one can easily go to both on a trip!

    Thanks again!

  3. Jason Riedy says:

    Similarly, still available in March 2012 at Harves in (by?) Kyoto Station. I picked it up because I had no idea what it is, and it’s quite a fun drink. Somehow missed it on your site… Used OpenKyoto & KyotoFoodie for research before this trip. Thank you for all the work! Your older articles still seem quite relevant.

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