Richie Hawtin

The titan of techno explains his love of Sake


How important to understand Sake is it to also understand the history and culture of Japan?

For a sommelier or Sake ‘professional’ it’s a MUST.  To fully understand and appreciate how Sake is made and WHY it’s so important to the Japanese people and food culture you really need to learn about the history of Japan and how food (and even money) developed!  It’s a very interesting and inspiring story and something that brings me closer and closer to Japan with each step I take! However, for YOU, the casual drinker, just trust your taste buds. If you like it try to think about the taste or sensation you like and then explain that to the waitress or sommelier later to follow that path and develop your tastes and appreciation for Sake…like wine…do you like a full body Chardonnay or a dry sweet Riesling?  Start simple. Melon? Honey? Smooth? Dry? Trust yourself and have fun…and ENJOY!


Can you tell us about the first time you drank Sake, did you like it?

My very first experience was with hot low quality Sake and it was NOT a good one. I found the drink too alcoholic, strong and dry, it was not pleasant.  This is not saying that there’s no Hot Sake that’s good, there is! There’s some that ’s incredible. But I think starting with cold premium Sake is the best way to go…enjoy that first experience of the smooth luxurious taste of Sake AND THEN, the best part, the beautiful heady buzz that comes with drinking a few glasses!  I come from the clubbing and nightlife world, I want to drink something that gives me that warm heady buzz that loosens me up to hang, talk and have fun with my friends AND the new ones I meet…it’s not high octane like Tequila that can quickly easily go overboard and edgy, or the kind of slow moving feeling of a beer or wine. It’s something beautifully in the middle that is PERFECT for a social experience, whether it’s on a beautiful romantic dinner date or the long winding hypnotic club night!

When did the lightbulb moment happen, when did it occur to you that you wanted to get involved in this industry?

After my first heady hypnotic club night experience in Japan drinking Sake ALL NIGHT! Then because of my love of Japan and hearing that there was an English Sake sommelier course offered in Tokyo, with five nights of learning about Japanese Sake and Culture – and tasting over 50 different Sake’s…I WAS IN!!!! Those 5 days sucked me deep into the wonderful world of Sake, the history, the independent breweries and families that are dedicated to their own unique ways of brewing, packaging and promoting their own “taste”! I had an epiphany the moment I realized that the Sake world and music scene were basically the same thing, run and promoted by like-minded inspired creative people following a certain taste or (with us) a certain sound!  It’s the same industry, just focused by different senses. But the best Sake, like the best DJ set, takes you away to another heady state where everything smoothes out and you find yourself in a moment of sublime pleasure!


You’ve just launched your new Enter Sooku Sake range with a big event at Lips, tell us about it…

Sookuu is just one of our products in the ENTER.Sake 2015 Range and is actually the main Sake in our collection since it was the first brewery we started to work with in 2012!  However this year we’ve extended the selection to 6 types of Sake from 5 different breweries from specific regions of Japan. This year we have Sookuu ‘Black’ (junmai), Matsumoto brewery Shuhari ‘Back’ & Gold’ (junmai & junmai daiginjo respectively), Kokuryu brewery Kozuryu.

What would be your perfect dishes to accompany your Sake?

Wow! Sake is actually more flexible than wine in my opinion. Where you mix white wine with fish, red with cheese and meat and so forth, Sake has little acidity and smoothly goes with many of our favourite dishes whether that’s an incredibly juicy rare steak, fresh seafood and even cheese – YES! Sake goes with Cheese INCREDIBLY. Sake is VERY good with salty dishes so is well matched with many of the favourite Spanish dishes/ Try our Sookuu with jamon and melon or have a bottle of Sake on ice on the beach and quench your thirst after coming out of the salty Ibiza (or Formentera) water!!!


You ship over 1000 bottles of your Sake from a 13th century brewery in the ancient city of Kyoto. Is this place as beautiful as it sounds?

Even more!  Over the past 25 years I’ve helped introduce the world to many wonderful artists and sounds that I felt inspired by, passing on that energy and beauty and experiences to clubbers and music heads around the world. Now I can add on top of that a craft that’s as beautifully creative and independent as our music scene and has even a longer tradition than we can even imagine.  When you intertwine those two passions, Music and Sake, incredible moments can occur.

Who are some of the DJs who love their Sake at ENTER?

Honestly, which DJ doesn’t like Sake when they play? DJing is about losing yourself along with everyone else in the music, intertwined in a long moment of frequencies lubricated by a beautiful drink that is as hypnotic as the music.

A lot of DJs have a bottle of Patron or Mezcal in their DJ booth, how does this compare?

I also like Mescal and Tequila very much, but both are more high-octane and are like putting a bit more gas on the pedal to get things started… Sake sneaks up on you, from behind and then envelopes you in a warmer blanket.  Both can be related to the energy of the music and sets being played and both have their moments of perfect synchronicity… but my passion lies with Sake.

What are the future plans for Enter.Sake?

We hope to slowly introduce the world to our collection of Sake, first through the clubs and DJs we know and then slowly to the restaurants and bars around the world.