These interviews began as a way to introduce you to interesting people in the wine industry. Now, the interviews are broadening to include craft spirits, saké, beer and food as well. For many, the journey is not only intriguing but often quite an adventure. These talented individuals are what make these industries what they are today so follow this series to meet this group of passionate people who have dedicated their lives to their passion.
Why Saké? An interview with Daniel Ford of Blue Current Brewery
Was there a specific saké, spirit, moment or place that unlocked your passion?
Daniel Ford: I’d known about saké from sushi restaurants but not much more. But then I got a gig working at a bank in Japan and it was then I learned about all the different types of saké and what “premium” saké was and how to drink it.
What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the saké industry?
DF: I have my degree in psychology from Harvard and ended up working in IT in financial services. However, I’ve always been a “home brewer” and brewed beer and hard ciders over the years.
How has being in the saké industry changed you?
DF: I think I’m more in touch with my senses and they’ve come more alive as I’ve done tastings and pairings. I’ve become very good at associating tastes and putting them together. I realize now that the things I work with now are alive and react to how I take care of and treat them. That’s much different than an electronic binary world where things are either just on or off. Saké brewing is a far more subtle and nuanced world where temperature, time and even talking softly to microbes and cheering them on can make a difference in the outcome of my work. I mean, I’m working with millions and billions of live creatures every time I brew. I’m definitely more in touch with my work and I feel more part of the world.
What’s your favorite part of being in the saké industry?
DF: I love that I am producing something that someone else consumes into their body and they have a physical response. I help to create their joy and happiness and it makes me happy to be part of that. I love seeing people react to the saké we’ve made in a positive fashion – they’re drinking something we’ve made and to see them say “Ooh” and “Wow” or “I never knew saké could taste like this” – that makes me feel good.
Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to saké?
DF: As I said, I’ve always been a home brewer. I remember hanging out and playing Dungeons & Dragons in my buddy’s basement. His brother came home from college and taught us all how to brew beer. I’m naturally good at the chemistry part of it all and it just became a part of me and not only did I like getting cheap beer, but in experimenting and making better and better brews. Fast-forward a decade or so and I started to make hard cider and then meads, which have their own special needs. Shortly after my return from Japan, I found a brew-at-home saké kit in the brew store up in Portland, Maine and the experimenting began.
Click the link below to read more about Daniel and Blue Current Brewery: