Oh For Goodness SAKE

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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.

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