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  • Writer's pictureMax Sinsheimer

The James Beard Award for Best Beverage Book without Recipes Goes To...

Nancy Matsumoto and Michael Tremblay for Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake: Rice, Water, Earth!

The James Beard Foundation Book Awards is the highest acknowledgment for written works about food and beverage; receiving even a nomination is worth celebrating. I think this win reflects the grace with which Nancy and Michael captured the spirit of sake, an ancient beverage finding its way in a modern world.


Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake is at heart a travelogue: a rice-paddy-to-glass journey to 35 artisanal sake breweries (some over 300 years old!) in Japan, the US, and Canada. Gorgeously photographed and accompanied by colorful infographics, it collects stories, history, and insights about this popular beverage from the people who know it best. You can learn more about this labor of love here.

A live recording of the James Beard Awards ceremony (which has more humor and emotion than you might expect) is online for public viewing here. Start at the 38-minute mark to hear the announcer introduce the books for the category of Beverage without Recipes, followed by Nancy and Michael’s acceptance speeches.


Do you believe in kismet? On the same day that Nancy and Michael were in Chicago accepting their award, just a few hours apart, I was overseas in France walking down the aisle for my wedding. What beautiful linked memories we will share.


Congratulations again to Nancy and Michael, and thank you to everyone who has supported their endeavor and written to say how much they enjoyed reading Exploring the World of Japanese Craft Sake. Stay tuned for some big news from Nancy coming up next, to follow right on the heels of this great accomplishment…!




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