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Like with wine, there are variations in flavor between different types of Japanese sake. However, it can be kind of tough to pick up on the subtle differences unless you’re drinking them back to back. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for prices for anything other than the house sake at restaurants to start at about 800 yen (US $6.75), so putting together your own sampling set can get pricey.

But if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to dip you toes in the wide, wonderful world of sake, convenience store Family Mart is here to help, with its new lineup of affordably priced canned sake.

While convenience stores selling individual-sized servings of sake isn’t anything new, there are two unique points to Family Mart’s Sake Bottle series. First, while most cheap convenience store sake is of a quality as low as its price, Family Mart’s four exclusive brews are produced by respected sake maker Nihonsakari.

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Second, the Sake Bottle series is sold in 200-mililiter (6.8-ounce) oblong cans with resealable tops. There’s no pressure to drink any more than you feel like at that exact moment, unlike with other brands which come in glass containers whose tops have to be completely and irreversibly removed in order to get at the liquid refreshment inside.

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The least expensive of the quartet is the josen karakuchi, which comes in a black container and is priced at 260 yen ($2.17). Family Mart says this dry, 15-percent alcohol sake goes down smooth and can be paired with a wide range of foods.

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Ponying up 280 yen will get you a can of the refreshing junmaishu, which is just a tad less dry than the josen karakuchi but also has an alcohol content of 15 percent.

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Identically priced at 280 yen, the rich-tasting namagenshu provides the strongest kick of the bunch, with 20 percent alcohol and the sweetest flavor of the four.

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Finally, there’s the dry, aromatic, and elegant 16-percent-alcohol daiginjo, for 300 yen ($2.50).

All of the Sake Bottle varieties are currently available at Family Mart branches across Japan, which is also a handy place to pick up some snacks to munch on while you sip them. Even better, until January 12 they’re all 10 yen off, meaning that even if the top-of-the-line daiginjo turns out to be your favorite, right now it’s buy-30-get-one-free.

Sources: Entabe, Family Mart
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Insert images: Family Mart