Welcome to our new Sake Ambassador 2023

Mr Andre Bishop


Enchanted by Japanese culture since a young age, Andre Bishop’s deep-rooted passion for sake has been a cornerstone of the ever-growing sake community across Australia for decades. Pioneering the Australian sake world by opening the country’s first sake bar, Andre has been an inspiration for many wanting to learn more about this wondrous beverage and share their excitement for it. From those humble beginnings, Andre has been involved in every facet of the sake industry. From venue owner, event organiser, importer, educator and even working an entire brewing season in Japan. Andre’s love for sake was always his drive though, as he recounts, “I never really thought about how my legacy would evolve since I was very much caught up in just sharing my passion” – sharing his passion had the right results though! As one of the leading members of the Australian sake community, and a mentor to many developing Sake Sommeliers across the nation, Andre noted that he now sees the people he has taught and worked with “[taking] up the torch that I first lit and burning very bright indeed”.

To commemorate Andre’s amazing dedication and work towards developing & growing the sake industry in Australia, the Sake Sommelier Association is honoured to commemorate him and name him our Sake Ambassador 2023-2024!

The work isn’t over just yet though! Andre shared his vision with us:

“I want to walk into any bottle shop and see a well-stocked sake fridge backed with staff that have the knowledge to educate and recommend… when I look at where sake has come from in this country 25 years ago, I think it can happen.”

Young Sake Ambassador 2023

Yuma Wada


Moving from the corporate world, Yuma began by opening his own sake bar in Tokyo. He built upon this by offering sake and gourmet tours to tourist and Japanese people alike, with a focus on introducing people to sake’s delights. In particular, Yuma aims at bringing the younger generation into the world of sake! He “thoroughly enjoys learning something new from my guests”, believing that everyone – from the sake beginner to our Master Sake Sommeliers – always has something innovative & unique to offer sake lovers!

Particular to Yuma’s approach, he said that he “believes there is a great opportunity for more storytelling within the world of sake”, which is laced throughout his tours and experiences, promoting the mystique and intrigue found throughout each sake’s story!

About the Awards

Sake Ambassadors

Every two years one individual is honoured for their outstanding dedication to the World of Sake. They are people who have been advancing sake diplomacy, contributing to the understanding & appreciation of sake throughout their country and the world. We take great pride in celebrating the very best in the industry!

Young Sake Ambassadors

The aim of this award is to bring a fresh mind-set into the sake industry. Selected biennially, Young Sake Ambassadors are chosen based on how they bring new ideas to the craft and fuel the winds of progress. They are expected to spend their time contributing to the promotion of sake in their region.

Awarded only to individuals under 30, the Young Sake Ambassador award highlights the young, the new and the revolutionary individuals who keep the World of Sake constantly adapting & evolving.

How to Enter:

Do you work in the wine and spirits industry and want to broaden your horizons? Are you a Japanese culture enthusiast searching for a specific field to become an expert in? Or do you simply love sake?

Application is open to anyone aged between 18 and 30 without prior education in sake.

If you are interested in applying for the next Young Sake Ambassador of the Year, please email info@sakesommelierassociation.com

The Organisers:

The Sake Sommelier Association (SSA) is an independent organisation formed to develop the understanding and appreciation of Japanese sake through Sake Sommelier education. It was the first organisation to offer formalised sake education outside of Japan, and now has a world-renowned network of well experienced & professional Sake Educators spread across the globe. SSA Sake Educators can be found across 6 different continents in many, many, countries. Alongside the range of accessible Sake Sommelier courses, there are also more advanced sake education available in key locations, allowing for the widest range of sake courses available with any single provider. Our hope is to become the key network for the training & connecting sake lovers around the world.

Previous Ambassadors


Young Sake Ambassador 2022

Born in Singapore, sake has been Reuben’s go-to drink since reaching adulthood. With a background in events marketing and journalism, Reuben moved to the sake industry – drawn by its people, and their passionate work towards their respective arts. He wants to move the industry forward and help everyone: from brewers, to sommeliers, to customers!


Sake Ambassador 2021

“For the Betterment of Sake,” a simple but powerful mantra to which Beau Timken has dedicated his life’s work. In the early 2000s, Beau began by opening the first sake dedicated store outside of Japan. Through his exceptional dedication, Beau created a space for curiosity and learning, helping change the perception and accessibility of Sake in the San Francisco area. Determined to influence sake’s appreciation on an even larger scale, Beau has also written a book (Sake – A Modern Guide), runs a popular sake newsletter and lists his True Sake reviews!


Sake Ambassador 2019

Corinne Mui has contributed to sake education through her sake courses at AWSEC, and she has been greatly influential, introducing many wine fans to the sake world. Corinne captures the interest of wine aficionados on account of her impressive wine education and numerous qualifications; she has also visited numerous sake breweries in Japan.


Young Sake Ambassador 2018

Francesco Contento was born in Monopoli in Italy and grew up in the hospitality environment helping his father at his three restaurants. Francesco grew to love this world and later decided to pursue it in his academic life. After 5 years of school, his curiosity to find new inspiration led him to leave his family home and to travel to new countries. Four years ago, Francesco moved to London and started to work for Partridges, which proved to be the perfect environment in which to grow. He discovered new products, new methods, and plenty of new things to learn. Francesco has been given the opportunity to major in the wine sector, and this is something that he is now pursuing with dedication and passion.


Young Sake Ambassador 2016

Jacopo Armenio is a Sales Executive from Italy and fan of Japanese culture, who developed a passion for sake when he tasted some while living with Japanese people. He took a trip to Japan to visit a brewery and try sake from a variety of different regions. He loves the versatility of sake, and its rich history, and would like to build a worldwide network of sake fans and sommeliers.

“Sake, light in colour, full of flavour”


Sake Ambassador 2015・2016

François Lavergne’s (pictured left) passion for sake began more than 20 years ago when he was sent to Tokyo as a trained oenologist to open Cordon Bleu’s third international cooking school. It was there he fell in love with the country, both for its culture and history as well as its sake. As one of the first to make sake centred events across the world (from Dubai to France and beyond) François created new pairings that saw sake paired with both chocolate and macaroons. He also designed new takes on classic cocktails devising drinks such as the Sake Spritz.

“It is nice to know that your efforts are being recognised. It has been a long road getting sake appreciation this far and I am very grateful to be honoured for my work. I hope in a few years it will be Mai, or Miguel standing where I am today as the Sake Ambassador”.


Young Sake Ambassador 2015

Mai. E Segawa (pictured left) is from Washington, D.C. Mai was born on March 3rd, on Japanese Girl’s Day (also known as Hinamatsuri) a holiday that celebrates the empowerment of young women with the traditional drink shiro sake, Mai recently graduated from the University of Oxford with her Master’s degree in Migration Studies. She is currently working at her father’s Japanese restaurant, Tako Grill in the Washington D.C.-Metropolitan area.

“ I am very honoured. It is a special chance to see inside the once mysterious world of the sake industry that a young person like me would not normally have access to.”