Sake is one of the most iconic drinks in many Japanese restaurants. It is first to Midori, which is a melon liquor that can be mixed with just about anything under the sun. In House Bill 689 (HB 689) it hopes to include sake under the definition of fermented drinks much like wine. While the legislation does not begin until July 1, fans of Japanese food and culture hope that there is a possibility to become popular with many locals in the state of Florida when they buy sake in retailers around the state for the staple Japanese drink.


Japan has taken many people by storm.

From famous Ramen noodle bowls to Maruchan instant ramen and even sushi. But the biggest dilemma to recognizing sake as a fermented drink equal to that of wine is because the law in Florida states that fermented drinks are made from berries or grapes, hence wine. Sake is no different from wine, but instead of berries, it is rice that has been left to ferment.

The current situation with sake is that rice is a grain so it is often in many liquor stores but not in retailers. The bill hopes to establish sake in many retailers for people to purchase without having to stop at a liquor store. Yet many large chain companies like Publix in Florida have sake on their shelves near the Jewish wine they drink on the Sabbath and many mixed wine beverages.

In Fresh Market, another chain popular in the Florida area, sake is available by the cash registers with bottles of other mixed beverages. So while some retail stores have sake, there are some that do not offer other brands of sake that could line the shelves of Fresh market and Publix.

HB 689

if the bill is passed, sake could be legally recognized as a wine and therefore make it easier for many Asian establishments to sell sake with wine and beer.

But it could help other establishments that do not offer Asian food too. Jason Unger, a lobbyist for Gary Robinson in Tallahassee who spoke with Tampa Bay Times, says most people who have retail stores or restaurants probably had no idea that sake was not considered a wine. Which apparently, that fact is true. But with this bill bobbing its way through legislation, there could be a chance that sake will become part of many wine lists throughout the state of Florida.

Eric Fralick from Noble Rice in Tampa says that adding sake to wine lists on restaurants and having them in retailers around the country, could help with the confusion between another fermented rice drink called shochu, made from more than just rice and contains a higher alcohol content, according to his interview with the Tampa Bay Times. This bill to legalize sake came in part from the Four Loko beverages that are high in alcohol and contains four different types of alcohol in one can.