SAKETIMES NEWS – Apr 25, 2022

In the news this week: Dassai signs a two-year deal with the New York Yankees as an official sponsor. Then, four floors of sake fun open at the eclectic Ponsh Bldg. bar and event space in Tokyo. Last, Tippsy takes its US sake subscription service to the next level with a major boost in funding.

Dassai becomes official sponsor of New York Yankees

Asahi Shuzo announced that they’ve signed a contract with the New York Yankees baseball team to be an official sponsor for 2022 and 2023. 

As a part of the sponsorship deal, the Dassai logo will appear near home plate and in a rotation with other brands on LED sign boards inside the team’s stadium. In addition, Dassai will be served in certain premium seating areas.

Asahi president Kazuhiro Sakurai told SAKETIMES that the negotiations went very smoothly and their main concerns over how Dassai would be stored and served to ensure its quality were accommodated by the Yankees. As a result, those in premium seats can order a wine glass of sake to enjoy with the hot dogs and hors d’oeuvres sold there. There are no plans to incorporate Japanese food at the moment, and Sakurai said that he would prefer to see sake enjoyed with a variety of cuisines suiting local palates.

He added that the timing of the deal might be good as well, because there currently aren’t any Japanese players on the Yankees. Asahi would rather have Dassai stand on its own merits as an enjoyable drink rather than be seen as a Japanese novelty.

If successful, it will be another win in the brewery’s ambition to spread sake awareness worldwide. The sponsorship deal is also coinciding with the establishment of a new large-scale Dassai brewery in Hyde Park, New York, which is set to open this summer.

LINK: SAKETIMES|2022/4/8 「獺祭」の旭酒造がMLB「ニューヨーク・ヤンキース」と公式スポンサー契約を締結


Four-story sake shop opens in Tokyo, offering free tastings

Last February, Ponsh Bldg. opened in the Monzennakacho area of Tokyo, offering four floors of sake, food, and relaxation.

The first floor is a standard sake store, equipped with a kaku-uchi “stand-and-drink” section. This is a counter that allows customers to drink right inside the store by choosing from a brand inside the refrigerated case on the wall. Brands rotate daily and include Denshu, Hakurakusei, Juyondai, and Aramasa. All can be purchased by weight in amounts as small as 5 oz (150ml).

The second floor is a restaurant area, in which meals are crafted to complement the rich variety of sake in stock. Dishes are mainly Japanese food, but also incorporate elements of French and other cuisines. The third floor is also a dining area but contains a chef’s table, great for dates or dinner meetings.

The fourth floor is a private room that can be reserved for any type of gathering and can accommodate eight to 10 people comfortably. Finally, a BBQ has been set up on the rooftop, rounding out a multitude of ways to enjoy sake in a single building.

Ponsh Bldg. is open seven days a week and is located near the Oyoko River, about a two minute walk from Monzennakacho Station in central Tokyo.

LINK: SAKETIMES|2022/4/6 角打ちもBBQも!ビル1棟まるごとで日本酒を楽しめる「ぽんしゅビルヂング」が門前仲町にオープン


Tippsy sake subscription service gets $1.6M in pre-series A funding

LA-based company Tippsy announced on February 14 that they have raised about US$1.6 million from investors and other firms in a round of pre-series A funding.

Tippsy was founded in 2018 and offers subscription sake tasting kits for a flat rate of US$99 per three months. The kits contain mini-bottles, allowing customers to sample from roughly 400 kinds of sake. The service has proven successful with Americans, particularly among millennials.

The company hopes to bridge the gap between sake producers and American consumers in several ways. First, many Americans may encounter sake through a restaurant, but they often have no way of finding it for sale anywhere else. Also, retailers in the US are too far removed from the Japanese breweries and many lack knowledge of the different brands and flavors of sake to sell it effectively, a problem made worse by the language barrier between the two countries.

Tippsy helps by introducing those curious about sake by not only sending samples of different kinds, but providing English information on the different breweries and their backgrounds. Conversely, thanks to the feedback from customers in the form of reviews, sake producers can get a sense of regional preferences in the US and focus sales and marketing on the specific areas with the best chances of success.

This latest round of investments follows $500,000 in seed funding that Tippsy had garnered last year, bringing the total level of investment to date to $2.1 million.

LINK: BRIDGE | 2022/4/14 米国で日本酒テイスティングキットのD2Cサブスク「Tippsy Sake Club」運営、2億円をプレシリーズA調達——W venturesらから


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