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In Honolulu, snap up the chance to sip sake -- nearly 400 kinds of it

You’ll have hundreds of chances to sip some sake at an upcoming Honolulu festival, the largest outside Japan.

Nearly 400 varieties of this drink made from fermented rice can sampled July 31 at the Joy of Sake at the Hawaii Convention Center.

If you miss this assemblage, you’ll have another chance to sip a little closer to home.

More than 150 breweries from Japan and the U.S. will be showcasing their sakes, more than half of which aren’t sold in America. Many are handcrafted, premium sakes made from the innermost core of the rice grain.

Sake has been made since about the 3rd century BC. At first, it was for use by nobility, but by the 12th century commoners were drinking it. The process of creation is more like beer than like wine. But it is not carbonated and is often sweet.

Today it is sometimes drunk warm, although premium sake may be served on ice.

Twenty-one Hawaiian restaurants will be serving sake-inspired appetizers at the Joy fest. Participating eateries include Banzai Sushi Bar in Haleiwa on Oahu's North Shore; Migrant in Wailea, Maui; and MW Restaurant in Honolulu.

Onopops, a local manufacturer of frozen treats,  will debut its latest creation, a plum sake pop.

There will also be live entertainment.

Tickets cost $145 for early access at 5:30 p.m. Those with $95 general admission tickets will be welcomed at 6:30 p.m.

The Joy of Sake will move on Sept. 19 to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Sept. 19. The festival will return to Tokyo on Nov. 5.

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