Andre Bishop

Australia’s Official Sake Ambassador

Andre Bishop at Nihonshu

With fifteen years of experience promoting sake and Japanese beverages, Andre Bishop is recognised as Australia’s leading authority on sake. He is a well-respected authority and educator who shares his passion for sake with others with the vision to encourage more Australians to discover the joys of sake and Japanese culture in general.

His first venue Robot, a Japanese style bar and café quickly became an icon in the Melbourne boutique bar scene and was instrumental in the early vision of bringing sake out of the confines of the Japanese restaurant in Australia and introducing it to the broader drinking public.

In 2005 Andre co-opened Golden Monkey, a distinguished cocktail bar in the heart of Melbourne’s Hardware lane dinning precinct. Within its first year Golden Monkey set the standard for modern bars in Australia and in 2006 was awarded “Best New Bar in Australia” by the Australian Bar industry advocate Bartender Magazine. In 2007 Golden Monkey was recognized for its continued outstanding achievements and was honored with winning “Best Bar in Australia”. In 2009 Golden Monkey was awarded “Best Bar in Australia” a second time.

Andre also saved Melbourne’s Japanese dinning institution Izakaya Chuji from closure. The first site, opening in 1989 now has a 25-year history. Andre acquired the original Lonsdale Street location in 2003 and opened up a second store in South Melbourne in 2008.

As a further commitment to the promotion of sake Andre opened Nihonshu in 2008, Australia’s first dedicated sake and shochu bar offering a diverse selection of sake including nihonshu, shochu, umeshu, yuzushu, awamori and boutique Japanese beers.

Drawing from his study of sake in Tokyo, Japan, Andre is currently holds a Level 2 Sake Professional Certification awarded by the Sake Education Council in Tokyo, Japan. Andre regularly travels to Japan and has visited many sake breweries to improve his understanding of sake and its production.

Recognised by the industry and peers as an expert in Japanese culture and dining Andre Bishop was invited by the Melbourne International Food & Wine Festival to sold-out Sake Tasting Events at the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 festivals.

Most recently Andre has opened the multi ward winning Izakaya and Sake Bar Kumo, as a showcase venue with one of the largest sake lists in Australia. He also created his sake education and consulting business, Sakemaster.com.au. He has also been interviewed by NHK TV World for a story on the rising popularity of sake and Izakaya in Australia that was aired in Japan, February 2011

In February 2015, Andre was featured in a 10 minute special on sake growth in Australia for TV TOKYO’s Zipangu business feature. It was the highest rating segment of the 1 hour special.

Andre is the Sake Ambassador for Australia’s biggest online Sake retailer www.sakeonline.com.au and regularly writes sake reviews, sake education articles and brewery visit reviews.

In August 2013, Andre was inaugurated as a Sake Samurai in Kyoto, Japan. This prestigious title has only been bestowed to a handful of non-Japanese sake experts around the world and is the highest honour awarded by the Japanese sake industry.

In 2014 Andre was made an honorary Visit Kyoto Ambassador by the Kyoto Prefectural Government.



Inauguration as Sake Samurai

11 October  2013 – Shimogamo Jinja Temple, Kyoto

Shochu Ambassador Certificate

7 September 2013 – Kumamoto Shochu Manufacturers Association

Inauguration as Visit Kyoto Ambassador

8 May  2014 – Tofuku-ji Temple, Kyoto


Golden Monkey Bar

Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards

Winner – Australia’s New Bar of the Year 2006

Winner – Australia’s Bar of the Year 2007

Winner – Australia’s Bar of the Year 2009

Nihonshu Sake & Shochu Bar

Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards

Finalist – Best Small Bar 2010

Kumo Izakaya and Sake Bar

Gourmet Traveller Australia

Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards 2012 3 Wine Glasses (Highest Rating)

Victorian Restaurant & Catering Association

Winner Best Japanese Restaurant – 2012 Savour Australia™ Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence

Finalist Best Japanese Restaurant – 2013 Savour Australia™ Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence

Finalist Best Japanese Restaurant – 2014 Savour Australia™ Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence


Sake Professional Course Level 2 Tokyo, Japan 2008

Sake Professional Course Level 1 Tokyo, Japan, 2007

Major presentations and articles


Australian Bartender Magazine

Sake Postcards – Two Part Sake Brewery visit story in July & August 2012 Issues

Australian Bar Show

22 September 2010 – Sydney

Guest Speaker – Sake education and presentation to Australian bartenders and press as part the hospitality industries premier trade convention

Consulate General of Japan in Melbourne – For Tohoku’s Sake

16 February 2011

Guest Speaker – Special presentation to Restaurateurs and Press on the history of sake in Australia. In Attendance – Mr Koichi Saura, CEO of Urakasumi Breweries, Mr Kazunari Shata, Vice-President of Tengumai Breweries, and Mr Keisuke Irie, Sake Samurai

Australian Bar Show

24 September 2012 – Sydney

Guest Speaker – Sake presentation and tastings to Australian bartenders and press as part of the Hospitality industries premier trade convention

Australian National Homebrewing Conference

25 October – 27 October 2012

Sake production seminar presented to delegates.

Sake Export Presentation

25 February 2014 – Kurashiki Town Hall, Okayama Prefecture

Engaged as a consultant by the Okayama prefecture to present a lecture to local sake producers concerning export market potential.

Australian Nation Broadcasting Station ABC

Saturday 16 August 2014 9:45AM

Half hour interview on Australian National radio with celebrity chef Tetsuya Wakuda about sake in Australia

Australian Bartender Magazine

The Rise of Sake – October 2014 Issue

Story on the rise of sake in Australia and a review of the visit to sake breweries in Kurashiki.

Melbourne Immigration Museum

Sake Tasting Masterclass February 2015

Presented a sold out sake class for the Melbourne Immigration Museum

Melbourne Immigration Museum

Sake Pop-up February 2015

Organised and curated a sake pop-up bar as part of the museums Courtyard Cantina multicultural food and beverage expo.

The Art of Sake

Japan Consul-General Residence Sydney, Australia March 2015

Guest speaker at the “Art of Sake” presentation hosted by the Japanese Consul-General in Sydney, Australia. Gave a 30 minute lecture on sake production, food matching and the future of sake in Australia.