Building Your Career in Japanese Sake

Congratulations, you’ve decided to become a Sake Specialist! Or maybe you like drinking Japanese sake with friends and want to know more about your sake options. We help students of all backgrounds choose courses. What course pathway is right for you?



I’d like to know more about Japanese Sake because I enjoy it.

It’s simple – you enjoy sake but don’t know where to jump in. Start from the beginning with our WSET Level 1 Award in Sake. This course lets you to explore how sake production influences the aromas and flavors of your (soon to be) favorite sake. We taste a variety of Japanese sake together in class and occasionally have guest sake or special locations for our beginner classes. The beginner level is perfect for students who want to learn more about Japanese sake by focusing on ingredients and the basics of sake production. Guided tastings enable you to familiarize yourself first-hand with the qualities of sake.

I want specialized professional development for Japanese Sake and Shochu.

Our Intermediate sake and shochu courses provide greater insight into Japanese sake history, production, terminology, and types. These courses offer cost effective professional development for individuals and teams. Students will have the opportunity to view an extensive portfolio of premium Japanese Sake and Shochu. 

Have a busy schedule? These intensive 1-Day courses are made for those with limited time that want to develop greater insight into sake and shochu types. In addition to lectures and discussions, students learn through hands-on tasting and explore how production methods influence aromas and flavors.

View our open Certified Sake Adviser and Certified Shochu Adviser courses.

I’m interested in expanding my career options with Advanced Sake certifications.

For those interested in building a career in sake in a client facing role, Certified Sake Sommelier and WSET Level 3 Award in Sake will provide you with the foundation to make informed decisions about your sake selections. Each course provides in-depth knowledge of sake and best practices for serving and tasting. In addition, these courses provide intensive palate training exercises.

Both Certified Sake Sommelier and WSET Level 3 Award in Sake offer sommelier level credentials. The main differences are the qualifying institutions and curriculum.

Certified Sake Sommelier – This 3-Day intensive training course is certified through the Sake Service Institute (SSI). The curriculum integrates the historical and cultural background of Japanese sake with best practice serving and tasting methodology. Students are challenged with a blind tasting and practical questions to evaluate their understanding of sake characteristics, sake production, and ingredients. This certification offers the additional opportunity to compete in the World Kikisake-shi Competition US regional.

WSET Level 3 Award in Sake – This 3-Day rigorous training course features an online pre-study course in addition to time spent in class. The online pre-study training requires a larger time commitment compared to the Sake Sommelier course; however, some students benefit from the additional course preparation. The Wine & Spirits Education Trust uses a specialized tasting approach that students will apply during the blind tasting exam. Students will also gain a deeper knowledge of sake ingredients, sake production, and tasting methods. Many students with a background in wine may be familiar with WSET’s methodology and curriculum.

We have many students with careers in hospitality, wholesale distribution, and the restaurant industry but our students also come from additional fields. This guide was created to help you make a more informed decision about your sake education. 

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