Culture Club: Sake Tasting, Tue 4/16, 7pm PDT

Date and Time
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
7:00pm— 9:00pm
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Santa Monica (private residence location shared after rsvp)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
United States
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Emi Takemura

In Japan, cherry blossom season is a time to enjoy great sake with friends. 

Wharton SoCal Culture Club is honoring this tradition and has invited two up-and-coming Sake band founders to share their varieties with us. Kaori from Ichido (Chicago Booth alumna) and Paul from SAFU Sake (Wharton alumnus) both founded their brands after attending business school out of a passion for creating Sake that meets the needs of modern consumers while being authentic to how the Sake is brewed by craftsmanship. 

We will learn from the founders about the uniqueness of their products and how to enjoy them best on their own or with food.

Date: April 16 (Tue)  from 7-9pm

  • 7:00 pm Door opens
  • 7:30 - 7:50 pm SAFU Sake Presentation and Tasting
  • 8:00 - 8:20 pm Ichido Presentation and Tasting

Venue: A Private Residence in Santa Monica (the address to be e-mailed to the registrants).

Light snacks are served, but not dinner. 


Member: $15

Non-member: $40


Product Info and Speaker Bios:

SĀFU SAKE 7:30 - 7:50 pm

What is SĀFU SAKE? 

The double gold award-winning junmai daiginjo is made from water drawn from the Ōno River in the Oita prefecture and Yamaguchi Yamadanishiki rice milled down to 50% for extreme purity. Brewed meticulously during the cold of winter, SĀFU SAKE is well-structured in flavor with aromas of melon, pear and hints of rose that burst on your palate mid-sip and smoothly vanish, finishing bright and clean. This variety of SĀFU SAKE pairs well with fresh tuna, seafood, cheese, oysters and beef.

About the Speaker: 

Paul Dohrenwend WG21, CEO, Safu Sake Co. 

By trade, Dr. Paul Dohrenwend (WEMBA 45, WG21) is an emergency medicine physician, and he revels in all things water whether surfing, skiing, or whitewater kayaking to get his ya-yas out.  While on a ski trip in Hokkaido, he knew from the first sip of cool, premium sake that his tequila, beer and wine interests were in trouble.  On this trip, the group of five friends celebrated the day of endless powder with sakes that amplified the joy of the day. Sāfu sake is that day, in all it’s authenticity, bottled up.  Kanpai!



ICHIDO 8:00 - 8:20 pm

What is Ichido Sparking Sake? 

Introducing Ichido Sparkling Sake, a masterpiece created through the meticulous Champagne-style fermentation method. Embark on a journey of taste and refinement, as we pride ourselves on crafting flavors revered by connoisseurs worldwide. Our relentless pursuit of perfection, guided by a former vice president from a prestigious champagne house, has led us to unveil a symphony of flavors—a harmonious blend of sourness, natural sweetness, and a sublime foam texture, all achieved using only the finest, all-natural ingredients. Enjoy Ichido at Michelin-starred restaurants, upscale venues, and now, conveniently available online in select states. Experience the epitome of elegance in every sip

About the Speaker:

Kaori Shimazaki, CEO, SAKE Generation, Inc.

Kaori Shimazaki's journey spans diverse corporate landscapes and entrepreneurial milestones.During her tenure at Coca-Cola, Kaori pursued an MBA at the University of Chicago while co-founding the pioneering SAKE project with an international team. This venture reached the finals of the Chicago Global New Venture Challenge Competition. Once Established Sake Generation in 2019, her initiatives garnered recognition from various prestigious platforms, such as the U.S. Embassy's Women's Entrepreneurship Program, where she secured the Bronze Award in a competitive pitch contest. Additionally, she contributed to Tokyo's NY Expansion Support Program (X Hub Tokyo) and the APTWoman program, which led her to explore Silicon Valley as a cultural envoy. Kaori's commitment to expertise is reflected in her professional qualifications, including a U.S. CPA acquired in 2008, an MBA from the University of Chicago in 2019, and certifications as a Certified SAKE Professional and Sake Sommelier in 2019 and 2021, respectively.



About the Organizers:

Emi Takemura G'97 WG97

Emi Takemura is an internet veteran turned whole child and progressive education advocate. In Japan, she has traveled throughout the country to run film screenings and workshops and facilitate conversations about reimagining education. Before pivoting to education, Emi was on leadership teams at Excite Japan, Amazon Japan, and Disney Japan. She also co-founded a series D event management platform,, in 2011. Peatix has become the number one event management platform for SMEs, with over 10 million registered members. Emi currently serves on multiple committees at the Japanese government and schools in Japan.

Being an LA resident since 2021, Emi enjoys sharing the beauty of Japanese food and culture with friends and competing SoCal tennis leagues. She is the mother of two high school students and kittens.


Karrye Braxton WG86

Karrye Braxton collaborates with an emerging merchant bank in South America, specifically in investor relations. She was a U.S. Agency for International Development Foreign Service Officer in Ukraine, before she co-founded and scaled up a firm in US government contracting, focusing on international development in infrastructure advisory services, working globally over 20 years. Karrye also advocated for small businesses and consumers to build greater equity in the global and local economies. She speaks Russian & German and enjoys International Travel & Film as well as Baseball & World Cup Soccer. Karrye grew up in Detroit and hails from a Hampton Roads, Virginia family. She moved from Washington, DC and is excited to join family members in SoCal after spending the pandemic in Atlanta, caring for her elderly father. In addition to her Wharton MBA, Karrye has an AB from Harvard University and a MA In International Relations from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.


Monisha Toteja G'09 WG09

Monisha Toteja is the CEO of Dynamic Speaking, where she advises, coaches, and speaks about communication challenges at work.  She has over 20 years of professional experience, and focuses on empowering executives and rising stars to communicate effectively.  She works across industries to assist leaders in improving their executive presence, confidence, and strategic communication, including navigating difficult situations, engaging key stakeholders, and creating a pitch for investors or clients.  Monisha taught communication at The Wharton School for eight years, is a Board Member of The Wharton Club of Southern CA, and is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.  She holds an MBA in Management from The Wharton School, an MA in International Studies from The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in German Studies from Duke University.  Monisha speaks German fluently, Hindi conversationally, and has a basic knowledge of Spanish.


Sorry, this event is sold out.
Map & Directions

Santa Monica (private residence location shared after rsvp)

Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States,
by public transit by car by bike Walking