Throughout this month we’ve been highlighting everything great about Peckham and championing independent businesses that find their home there. Peckham is brimming with creative and industrious people like Lucy and Tom Wilson, who after falling in love with sake in breweries across Japan on a holiday a few years ago founded Kanpai, the first and only sake distillery in the UK, in a micro-brewery in Peckham!
Inspired by Japanese traditions, Kanpai has created their own London style of sake, which is full-bodied and dry. The brewery follows in the footsteps of the UK's craft beer scene, by making small craft batches with changing ingredients and twists that ensure variety and freshness every time.
With each batch, Kanpai release a pure junmai and a cloudy nigori. Both are perfect to drink on their own, in cocktails or matched to a huge variety of food. Kanpai are driven to bring sake into the lives of more people in London and across the UK - that's why they produce in small 'sharer size' bottles and run a series of events to show the huge range of cuisines that sake can be enjoyed with. And most importantly all Kanpai London sake is completely natural, vegan, sulphite-free, gluten-free, and contains no additives or preservatives.
We caught up with Lucy to find out how their first year as sake brewers has been and how it is to run their business in Peckham:
How has your first year treated you?
We can't believe how fast the year has gone and how so much has happened! From launching in Selfridges to events with many restaurants to experimenting with new products. The interest and the support has been incredible. We're so excited to share our sparkling sake this spring!
What have you learnt? About the experience and yourselves.
When it comes to making sake, the process is so intricate that we are always learning. We just came back from a sake brewery tour in Japan so we are brimming with information and inspiration! As for ourselves, we've learned that you can achieve a hell of a lot in what was previously time watching Netflix or on the Bermondsey beer mile! Seriously, we've sacrificed a lot to pursue our crazy hobby - we've learned things we never imagined like navigating licences and importing! And working together as a couple has it's pros and cons...!
Has the sake market changed?
For sure - the number of people drinking sake and hosting sake events in the UK is increasing, which is awesome to see. But we're trying to bring sake to the places where people are already curious about interesting and hand-crafted drinks - that's why we're focused on craft beer and natural wine stores first. We also love the opportunity to showcase the range of foods our dry 'London style' sake can be enjoyed with - from American BBQ to pizza!
What’s it like working in Peckham?
Peckham is brimming with creatives - pushing boundaries and working extremely hard. It's really inspiring. People based in Peckham wear it as an identity and we're so lucky to have already collaborated with local companies - Brick Brewery on a beer, Slow Richie's on a hot sauce and JDP Ceramics on sake-wares.
Is South London a good place to run a small business?
In terms of support and inspiration, definitely. Unfortunately it still carries the London price tag, which is tough when you're starting out.
Where can people get your sake?
We're available in over 30 places across London and wider: see www.kanpai.london/shop
Find out more: @kanpailondon or www.kanpai.london
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