Tsuta Sake to be sold for large undisclosed sum plus $10 and a jar of M&M’s

Source: www.maxpixel.net/And-The-Wind-Japan-Cuisine-Sake-Kaiseki-2336230

Following a visually stunning and highly informative ‘death by Powerpoint’ presentation at the Whottsup Beaches Resort and Conference Centre on Monday, Tsuta Ramen of Japan has offered to purchase Tsuta Sake.

The deal, subject to OIO approval, will see the founder of Tsuta Sake, Bo Andrews, walk away with a large sum of money. Asked for comment, Bo told us that he was at first reluctant to sell, but when offered the incentives of an extra $10 and a jar of M&M’s it was a deal just too good to refuse. He also mentioned that he is now living the New Zealand dream of building up a company and having it being bought out by overseas interests.

Although a sad day for sake in New Zealand, the purchase will allow Japanese dictionary publishers to redefine the word Tsuta as ‘ivy’ and pave the way for a new culinary delight of sake infused ramen.

Thankful that he will never have to do a sake presentation again, Bo Andrew’s will now concentrate on building up his next ventures; selling flour in a can for the lazy man and making beaches safer again by eradicating pesky crabs.

The rise and rise of Tsuta Sake

I couldn’t find a picture of sake blasting off into space.


Tsuta Sake has recently completed its first year of operation and is well on the way to producing high quality still and sparkling sake. There is much excitement about this new product and how it has burst onto the scene seemingly from out of thin air. People are intrigued by sake, they want to know what it is, whether it can actually be used in two-stroke lawnmowers and more importantly, how Tsuta Sake has achieved success in such a short period of time.

The founder of Tsuta Sake has been forced by his bank managers to give a short presentation to any AD511 student who is interested in learning about sake brewing in New Zealand and the promotional activities of our nation’s hottest fictitious upstart.

Unfortunately, there will be no taste testing at the presentation, but there will be a large bag of rice, some colour pictures and quite possibly an empty bottle on display. So come along. You know where. You know when.

No SAKE pun this time; this is serious research

Zenkuro Sake and Appleby Farms are two New Zealand companies which either produce an identical product or operate with a similar point of difference to my fictitious start-up, Tsuta Sake (see previous blog for more info). Both companies are new to the market, selling their product for less than five years.

Zenkuro Sake


Zenkuro Sake is the only commercial sake brewery in New Zealand and is based in Queenstown. It markets itself as using only the finest water from the Southern Alps and the finest polished sake rice. Zenkuro Sake is currently available in New Zealand, London and Japan.

Zenkuro’s website http://zenkuro.co.nz/ is the main portal for communication. The site is in English and Japanese. It contains plenty of information about the company and their range of sake products and you are even able to purchase products through their online shop attached to the site. Links to promotional articles and other websites that consumers may find of interest are active.

A Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/zenkurosake/ is updated regularly and has roughly 760 followers.

An Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/zenkurosake/ mirrors Facebook and is updated with relatively identical content. There are slightly more followers on Instagram.

Both Instagram and Facebook have images of new product, attendance at markets, announcements of any promotional material and are filled with positivity.

Zenkuro operate a Twitter account https://twitter.com/zenkurosake, however it has not gained much of a following. It appears to have more Japanese content on it and perhaps is used as the main social media channel for the Japanese followers as Twitter is a popular platform there.

Outside of social media, Zenkuro Sake:

Offer a digital newsletter available to email subscribers

Drive around in a promotional car

Attend food shows and markets

Provide taste testing

Have been featured on radio and television and in magazines and newspapers

Sell merchandise such as soap, created from the by-product of rice fermentation.

Use the PechaKucha platform to explain the sake fermenting process. www.pechakucha.com/cities/queenstown/presentations/sake-basics-nzs-firs

Their communication strategies would indicate that their target audience are older, slightly more affluent, civilised drinkers with a penchant for travel and quality. The platforms used are ideal for their target market and offer a good reach.

Appleby Farms


Appleby Farms is a Nelson based ice cream manufacturer. It was founded by four local families including two dairy farmers. Appleby Farms operate with a cow to cone philosophy. They own their farms, use their own milk supply (A2 variety- a unique selling point on its own) and are involved in every aspect of the supply chain.

Their website http://applebyfarms.co.nz/ emphasises their cow to cone philosophy. It is loaded with photos and information about their products. You cannot purchase from their site, but can contact them and access their social media channels.

A Facebook page www.facebook.com/applebyfarmsicecream/ with roughly 1993 followers is regularly updated and is used for competitions.

An Instagram page www.instagram.com/applebyfarmsicecream/appears to be used more for promotional photos. There are similar numbers of followers for both Facebook and Instagram. Appleby facilitate interaction, encouraging consumer generated feedback on their social media

Outside of social media, Appleby Farms appear to be very active, promoting their business through:

Supporting local community ventures such as the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary.

Attending fairs, selling their ice cream in carts and caravans.

Engaging with customers in the supermarket.

Painting the exterior of several cafes with their branding.

Working with food bloggers and placing paid content in publications like Wild Tomato.

Employing a marketing company ‘phd3’ to be in charge of their brand, packaging, illustration, storytelling and creative direction https://phd3.co.nz/appleby-farms

Ice cream is universally loved, but the market is saturated. Appleby farms currently produce a premium product offering a range of unique flavours for the domestic consumer. Their communication strategies help connect them with the wider community and share content which is relevant to the audience. Appleby ice cream appeals as a delicious treat, aimed at lovers of fine food and people willing to pay slightly more for all the ingredients being sourced locally.

Final Thoughts.

From this comparative research there are several effective approaches I can take into consideration when promoting my big idea. They are as follows:

1. Take as much time as you need upfront to plan well. Do your market research and make sure you have some competitive advantage that you can sell.

2. Creating a presence in the community is important. Word of mouth is powerful.

3. Maintain a social media presence and respond to comments promptly. For a business concept like Tsuta Sake, operating a Facebook and Instagram page will initially suffice, eventually opening a Twitter feed for the Japanese market when the time comes for expansion. An informative and attractive website is essential.

4. Maintain a good image. Use a marketing company to steer the direction of brand/ packaging and creative direction while you focus on producing the product and running the business.

Oh For Goodness SAKE

Image source: quintonwu from pixabay. www.pixabay.com

Sake. An ancient Japanese spirit. Put simply, fermented rice in a bottle. Served either hot or cold, and sometimes used as lawn mower fuel, you either love it or detest it; there is no in between.


With Japan riding a boom in popularity, sake is becoming more readily available in eating and drinking establishments across New Zealand. The range and variety continues to expand, yet producing sake in New Zealand is a novice industry. Currently there appears to be only one commercial brewery, Zenkuro, located in Queenstown, with all other sake being imported. The product I wish to promote will be a new local player in this niche market. Apart from the brand name ‘Tsuta Sake’ (pronounced ‘sue tar’) nothing else yet exists. It is envisioned that the Tsuta Sake brewery will produce a range of still and sparkling sake using as much locally sourced material as possible. Comparative research into the processes used to establish other beverage products such as kombucha, as well as research into companies that have complete control of the process from farming and food production to packaging and distribution will help determine the best marketing mix and target audience for my big idea.


Although completely not the case, I like to consider myself a bit of a sake aficionado. I have been hooked on the drink ever since my second, maybe third sip back in 2001 in a small izakaya (pub) in Gunma (A region of Japan). It has been a pipe dream of mine for quite some time now to produce my own sake label, yet apart from a disastrous attempt to ferment rice in my garage shed, I have done very little about it. This is basically due to the fact that I have no start-up capital, but more importantly because I want to create the sake using New Zealand rice and to the best of my knowledge, rice is currently not cultivated here. I believe it could be though, as the largest rice producing regions of Japan have a temperate, in some cases frigid climate. Cool climate varieties of rice may just work in several regions of both the North and South Islands. I have a hunch, Golden Bay may be an ideal spot. By taking this opportunity to develop ideas for the marketing and packaging of my concept, I may just be motivated into further action and actually bring the product into fruition.

Image source: rawpixel from pixabay. www.pixabay.com

Following her dreams

Art by Brooke Hume. Image Supplied


Brooke Hume has returned to her old stomping ground. She left New Zealand at the young age of 18, heading to Murray Bridge, a small town about an hour east of Adelaide. After four years holding down jobs as a sales rep and an online Etsy store owner, Brooke decided that it was time to study art and design, something she has always wanted to do.

Initially wanting to stay where she was, Brooke was shocked and annoyed to discover that attending college in Australia is outrageously (and perhaps unfairly) expensive for a born and bred Kiwi. Determined to follow her dreams, coming back to Nelson was perceived to be the most logical move and Brooke is happy with the decision. Apart from making more financial sense, Brooke now finds herself less than ten minutes from the beach and surrounded by a positive supporting family.


Being surrounded by the right people is indeed very important to Brooke. She strongly believes that the most successful and content strive to follow their dreams and associate themselves with others whom have a positive outlook and are never put off by apparent obstacles. Brooke is fortunate to be back in the presence of her mum, perhaps the most influential person in her life. Brooke’s mum has always been there for her, introducing her to the world of art and encouraging her to read, draw and lead by example.

Brooke is open to new ideas and is driven by random bursts of inspiration (she can find small pieces of inspiration anywhere). She has an eclectic, ever changing taste in music (currently a fan of the late 1990s & early 2000s era), is a self-confessed bookworm and is keen to explore the world further, especially Rome, a destination where she can absorb a plethora of cultural and architectural history.


Gazing into a crystal ball, Brooke sees herself returning to Adelaide to be with her partner. She is undecided on her exact career path, but foresees herself working as a graphic designer while gradually transitioning into becoming a published author and illustrator. Brooke aspires to write like her favourite novelist, Sarah Jane Maas. Perhaps in the not too distant future, Brooke’s artwork and writings will parallel the rich imagery and concepts prevalent in Maas’ Throne of Glass series.

Brooke certainly has the right attitude to achieve great success in whatever area of art and design she ends up in. One can sense that 2019 is going to be a good year for her and she is excited by the many learning opportunities she will encounter along the way.

To check out what artistic endeavours Brooke is up to, head over to her blog page ‘Daydream Believer’.