Introducing the Kampai Samurai interview series

Today I'm happy to announce the launch of's first ongoing series of expert interviews, the Kampai Samurai!

Kampai Samurai will, for the first time ever in English or Japanese, bring together experts and personalities representing all categories of Japanese booze under one web series. We will dive deep into the world's most elusive and hyped-up spirit: Japanese whisky. We will examine Japan's millennium-plus-long traditions of brewing sake, get up close and personal with Japan's craft beer boom, take a glimpse of the future of Japan's native spirit, shochu, and hear directly from the front lines of the rapidly growing Japanese craft gin world.

The Kampai Samurai can be Japanese or non-Japanese, they live in Japan or in other countries, and you may or may not already be familiar with them. But all of the Samurai share a willingness to spread their superb knowledge and intense passion for Japanese alcohol. A passion that's also held by many readers of!

Interviews will be added below as they are made available. Kampai!

Kampai Samurai: Rob Bright & Joe Robson, Japanese craft beer

Rob “do-er of things” Bright and Joe Robson (photo left and right, respectively) co-founded the web’s most comprehensive independent resource for Japanese craft beer: BeerTengoku. Launched in 2014, the site is chock-full of reviews of Japanese craft beers and beer bars, featuring brewer interviews, a podcast, an exhaustive Craft Beer Map of Japan, and much more.


Kampai Samurai: Alex Davies, Head Distiller, The Kyoto Distillery

The Kampai Samurai interview series brings together experts in Japanese whisky, sake, shochu, beer, gin, and other categories to explore the breadth and depth of Japan’s drinking culture. Click here to see other entries in the series. Alex Davies, Head Distiller at The Kyoto Distillery, has been one of the primary driving forces behind the […]


Kampai Samurai: Dramtastic, Brian Love, Japanese whisky

Dramtastic is the kind of passionate, democratic drinker who gave as much respect to the standard old school salaryman bottles as he did the legendary, expensive stuff.


Kampai Samurai: Stephen Lyman, shochu

Stephen Lyman is America’s leading expert on Japan’s national distilled spirit: shochu. He was the first graduate of the Sake School of America’s Certified Shochu Adviser’s Course, and Japan’s Cabinet Office named him the official Cool Japan Ambassador for Honkaku Shochu in 2016.


Kampai Samurai: Stefan Van Eycken, Japanese whisky

The first ever Kampai Samurai is one of the Japanese whisky scene’s biggest names, Stefan Van Eycken.

Based in Japan since 2000, he was a contributor/editor of from 2009 to 2017, where he led the site to become the great resource that it remains today. He is also closely associated with Whisky Magazine […]