Certified Sake Sommelier | ONLINE | October 21, 28, & November 4, 2024


Become a Certified Sake Sommelier! If you work in the food or beverage industry or are a serious sake enthusiast, it’s the perfect time to become a Certified Sake Sommelier. This 3-day training and exam is intense, fun, and extremely educational. It gives you all the knowledge and tools you need to independently speak about sake with confidence.


Sake Sommelier (International Kikisake-shi)

Successful candidates will be able to list the principal categories of sake, and state their defining characteristics, and know the key principles involved in the storage and service of sake. They will consequently be in a position to answer customer inquiries and provide recommendations for the service of sake. (Click for more on what being a Kikisake-shi entails)

In preparation for your upcoming course, students are advised to commit 10-15 hours of independent study using the Master of Sake textbook (cost of textbook included in course fees).

This intensive 3-day sake education course is designed to build upon course material taught in the Sake Adviser course. Students without Sake Adviser qualifications are requested to contact us prior to course enrollment.

This course is held once in Spring and once in Fall.

You must be age 21 or over to take this course and exam.

Course Date and Time

October 21, 2024 (ONLINE)

8:00am – 4:00pm PT | 11:00am – 7:00pm ET

October 28, 2024 (ONLINE)

8:00am – 4:00pm PT | 11:00am – 7:00pm ET

November 04, 2024 (ONLINE)

8:00am – 4:00pm PT | 11:00am – 7:00pm ET

November 11, 2024 (IN-PERSON Exam)

8:30am – 12:30pm PT | 11:30am – 3:30pm ET

Please adjust accordingly for your time zone.

Course Location


via Zoom (link will be provided prior to course)

Please check the available exam locations below.

Along with the online sake lecture and instructions, students will experience 15 sake samples guided by the instructor to illustrate the variety of key sake styles.

If you are nearby Los Angeles, you can pick up your sake samples in person at:
Miyako Sushi & Washoku School

843 E 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
If you are outside of the Metropolitan Los Angeles area, the sake tasting can be shipped to you.

After your registration is completed, be sure to be in contact with Sake School of America administration to arrange your sake sample delivery.


Applicants must possess the Sake Adviser qualification or have a strong sake or wine background prior to enrollment in the course.

Important Notice

  • You must be age 21 or over to take this course and exam.
  • The exam for this course must be taken in person.
  • We reserve the right to cancel the class two weeks prior to the date of the course if there is an inadequate number of registrants. In the case of a cancellation, your course fee will be reimbursed (minus the cost of course materials) or you may choose to register for a course at a future date.
  • Registration deadline is Friday, October 11, 2024 at 5pm PT.


November 11, 2024 (In-Person Exam)

8:30am – 12:30pm PT | 11:30am – 3:30pm ET

New York Mutual Trading– 77 Metro Way, Secaucus, NJ 07094

Mutual Trading Company – 4200 Shirley Ave, El Monte, CA 91731

The exam is comprised of 3 parts and covers sake characteristics, production, and blind tasting. Students must pass all 3 sections of the examination to achieve the Sake Sommelier qualification.

First stage examination
Multiple-choice questions with some writing questions
Expert knowledge of sake
・Basic knowledge of sake and alcoholic beverages in general

Second stage examination
Writing questions with some multiple-choice questions
・Questions on sake service and sales promotion, including planning by seasonal flavor characteristics)

Third stage examination
Writing questions with tasting and some multiple-choice questions
・Quality evaluation through tasting of sake, extraction of individuality (including classification by flavor characteristics)

Passing Requirements: Correct answer rate of 70% or more for each exam

Please note, exams are graded overseas. Students will be notified of exam results by email about 6-8 weeks after the exam.

Exam Retake/Resit

You may resit for the exam if you previously did not succeed. For partial passes of the exam, students are allowed to resit for the portion(s) they did not pass.

Retakes will fall on the same exam date as this course.

Please bear in mind that the retake period must be within one year of your original attempt. If a student with a partial pass does not retake the exam within one year of their original attempt, their exam score(s) will be reset – meaning they will have to retake the entire exam. Please note this course is held once in Spring and once in Fall.

The retake fee is $250.00 and does not include access to the course. Please email info@sakeschoolofamerica.com for more information on registering for the retake.

Main Concepts

    • The main techniques that are used in the production of sake and how they influence style and quality
    • Requirements for success as a Kikisake-shi
    • The basics of alcoholic beverages
    • History of sake production
    • Ingredients of sake
    • How sake is produced
    • Sake tasting techniques and analysis
    • Serving sake in the restaurant/hospitality industry
    • Reading sake labels

Instructor: Sara Guterbock

CBS, ISS, ASP, CS, CWE, DipWSET, JSA Sake Diploma
Certified Sake Educator Level 3, Wine & Spirit Education Trust 
Advanced Sake Professional, Sake Education Council

International Sake Sommelier (Kikisake-shi), Sake Service Institute International
Sake Adviser, Sake Service Institute
Shochu Adviser, Sake School of America

Sara spent a year living in Japan as a high school student and grew up in a family that placed great emphasis on learning and experiencing the Japanese language and culture.  Becoming proficient in Sake has brought together Sara’s passion for the beverage industry with her life-long love of Japan, its people, traditions, and cuisine.

Sara devotes a tremendous amount of energy introducing people to the complexities and beauties of Sake and its unmatched ability to pair with food.  She has developed a growing portfolio of 135 sakes, the largest in North Carolina, which she helps to distribute, market, and educate about throughout the state and beyond.

Instructor: Masae Kusada

JSA Sake Diploma, Japan Sommelier Association
Certified WSET L1 and L3 Award in Sake Educator, Wine & Spirit Education Trust
International Sake Lecturer, Sake Service Institute International
International Sake Sommelier (Kikisake-shi), Sake Service Institute International
Sake Adviser, Sake Service Institute
Shochu Adviser, Sake School of America

Masae was born in Japan but raised in New Jersey. Her hospitality experience started in restaurant accounting, eventually moving into the wine world by managing a wine bar and then spending 6 years at a small wine-importing company in NYC. A Jersey girl at heart, she has spent the last few years getting in touch with her Japanese roots through the medium of sake, shochu, and Japanese spirits. Working with Sake School of America and New York Mutual Trading has allowed her to explore the history and traditions of her motherland all while practicing her (very heavily Kansai accented) Japanese language skills.

Additional information

Select Exam Location

Los Angeles, CA, Secaucus, NJ