-Thank you very much for your time. First of all, could you please briefly introduce the company Kizakura, and what you focus in your brewing?
Originally we were part of an old Sake brewery Matsumoto Shuzo, which was established in 1791. In 1925, we became independent and established the current Kizakura in Fushimi-ku of Kyoto. Since the establishment we have celebrated our 85th Anniversary this year. Compared to other sake breweries, we are relatively young but we respect traditions, work to fulfil customer needs and most of all keep up the challenge. This is our company philosophy as well as my own beliefs.
Kizakura headoffice in Kyoto
-What was the background behind marketing your Sake in Australia?
We started our marketing in Australia 4 years ago, partnering with Daiwa Food. Since then, although it has been slow, we are progressing step by step. Sake has developed and succeeded in having a well respected status in the U.S. and throughout Asia. And we hope in the near future to have the same success here in Australia for the Sake industry and our company.
-How do you feel of the Australian market and what obstacles are you currently going through?
We feel that in Australia, there are many customers who still are not familiar, or have drunk sake before. Our starting point was how to create interest among these customers, and how to pursue an educational marketing strategy. If they are not prejudice towards Sake, this means they are willing to learn about Sake.
And considering the interest towards health in Australia, we are looking forward in marketing and communicating the Sake identity and especially how our Yamahai (the Traditional rank) is particularly great.
Kizakura main brewery
-Any opinions on the current Sake status in the world and future marketing plans?
As we have had success in the U.S. and Asia, we would like to use this as the base to expand our brand into Australia and other parts of the world. We would like to use the Yamahai as a starting point in Australia and expand our product line in the upcoming future.
-What are your impressions of Australia?
This is my first time visiting Australia and Melbourne, and I feel it is a beautiful city with full of nature. As matter of fact, I was very surprised to have hay fever at this time of the year. I have visited couple of local restaurants and liquor shops and we hope to use this information for future expansion.
Kizakura restaurant & Exhibition Centre
-What is the biggest appeal point of Sake?
Sake is full of amino acids and can really emphasise the taste of the food it is consumed with.
It has been proven scientifically that Sake has health benefits, and 1 Go (Japanese measuring unit, roughly 180ml) per day leads to healthier skin and liver. It has also been found out it can reduce the chances of having cancer. The general view of alcohol been unhealthy is due to overconsumption, and in reality, drinking appropriate amount can contribute to a healthier body.
Sake is said to have 5 flavours. These are sweet, sour, dry, bitter and astringent. When 5 of these flavours create a mix, the taste becomes more sophisticated and the Yamahai has aimed to become this flavour.
Yamahai (300ml & 720ml)
-What is the product particularly emphasised within the brand and what are the reasons to that emphasis?
This definitely would be the Kizakura Yamahai. We have absolute confidence with this product.
This is because other Yamahai Sakes marketed at around the same price range are brewed in the period of about 5 to 6 weeks. However we take 8 weeks to brew, and this is because of the high focus on quality. Not only do we want the best taste, but we want to offer it at a reasonable price and to be consumed by consumers who have high interest in Premium Sake. Our Misu Plant in Fushimi has won gold award in the National New Sake Awards* 8 years in a row, and this is the 3rd most winning record in the history. We believe this result was brought from the hard work of our Toji (Sake brewer) Mr. Toshio Takakura, and is a very honourable matter.
Yamahai matches multiple styles of dishes including Japanese, Chinese and Western. For example, it is great match with Burgers, Fried Chicken or other meat dishes. Yamahai can definitely give a great touch to the flavour and create a great dining experience.
*National New Sake Awards
National New Sake Awards is an award held every year since 1911. One Sake is selected from each brewery and judgement is based on flavour, smell and other scientific aspects.
-Do you have any particular motto you like?
A motto which I learnt when I was 15 is my favourite.
“Shi, mikka awazareba katsumoku shite matsubeshi”
(If not see the man for 3 days, wait with keen interest)*
This is a Japanese proverb derived from an ancient Chinese anecdote.
An individual with high will will always look at improving themselves, and even if you do not see them for a short period of time, there can be a significant change. In other words, people should keep in mind to have high will which could lead them to become a bigger and better individual even in a short period of time. Since I have heard this, it has made a huge impression and I say it to myself time to time.
*Please note this is a direct translation
-Again, thank you very much for your time today.
You are very welcome.
After the Interview…
The “Absolute Confidence” was particularly left a great impression and throughout the interview it was fantastic hearing how much passion was inserted into Kizakura’s brewing.
Kizakura Yamahai can be purchase at www.sakejapan.com.au, and is expanding in distribution among liquor shops throughout Melbourne. A great choice and a promising taste of Kizakura philosophy.