Divine Import

Premium sake is moving up in the beverage industry as more Americans discover new ways to appreciate an old drink

Ben Fink for TIME

A sake vessel and cups at Sushi Samba on Park Avenue South in New York City.

The shinto gods must be jealous. As sake brewers (toji) continue to close up shop and sales of their product slow in Japan, what has been known for millenniums as the drink of the gods is sidling up to American bars and being given ample space on the shelves of wine shops and on wine lists from coast to coast.

Sake. Chances are you've heard of it. Chances might also be that you can't remember the first time you tasted it--or at least what ensued in the wake of a few generously poured ochoko, or ceramic cups. But after decades of...

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