Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jillian Watanabe, Founder of Tsuki Sake, located in Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Tsuki Sake, Utah's Premium Craft Sake Company is a Traditional Japanese brewing technique with a modern American twist. Our customers are typically between 24-45 years of age, and we appeal to women as an audience as sake is gluten-free, sulfite-free, and lower in acidity. Tsuki also means "moon" in modern Japanese, which is a symbol of female strength!

Tell us about yourself

I'm Jill Watanabe, a half-Japanese Salt Lake city local. I fell in love with Japanese cuisine and sake throughout my career, from casual to fine-dining experiences. I am a certified sake sommelier and wanted to share my love for Sake with Utah by founding its very first sake co!

Founded in 2020 and the first product launched in 2021, I have taken a deep dive into the world of sake brewing, sales and marketing, and building a local presence. All without a storefront, haha. It's been a lot of hard work, but we are growing, and we are excited for the future of Tsuki Sake.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Honestly, there are many accomplishments on a weekly basis! I think that constantly working on the art of problem-solving and being flexible on a goal have been incredible skills gained from being a business owner.

Becoming the 5th highest producer in the US and our beloved Super Moon Junmai Daiginjo winning a silver medal at the New York World Wine and Spirits competition have been two of our most recent though!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Wondering if you're doing enough and second-guessing how well you're doing all of the new tasks you've never done before! Also, can we please have an extra day in the week?

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Get your finances in order beforehand: savings + low monthly expenses.
  2. Keep a business journal throughout the year: this is useful for growth in the future.
  3. Step outside of your comfort zone and learn skills you didn't come to the table with. Make yourself irreplaceable in your business.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Tsuki Sake is available for online purchase on our website and in Utah liquor stores.


Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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