Ask Beau - "Why are sake bombs so popular?"
Shannon, what can I tell you?
Why was the Macarena popular? Why were wine coolers popular? Why was Jersey Shore popular?
I think sake is about exposure, and most folks are not exposed to sake properly! Lord knows that many of us in the industry have been trying by hook and crook to expose sake in a real and true sense for over a decade, but our vehicle and reach is pretty limited. ( I personally thought that there would be a mini-sake boom after the movie "Lost in Translation" but it never came.)
Sake Bombs are more like a cocktail in perception, and they are usually "bombed" to get drunk - think Boilermaker! So they appeal to that large market of people who drink booze to get buzzed. They are fun and interactive so they are also perceived to be more entertaining. Why drink your hot sake when you can chug it with a beer?
Sadly (or not) I once did a very expensive and intensive sake-training program for a couple that were opening a sake bar. (I also did their sake menu for them and we selected some great brews. ) Over the years their menu slowly dwindled. And on my last visit their number of offered sakes, which at one point in time was over 50, was down to about 10. I asked what was the most popular sake and they said the "Sake Bomb." As I sat there folks who were out on the town would walk in and do a quick "Bomb" and then leave. It was perceived as an "Evening buzz starter."
They are popular because they are pitched that way. You are not merely drinking when you have a sake bomb, rather you are "doing" something, you are partaking in an active alcohol contest of sorts. You become one with the bomb because it's as if you have achieved something. When you bomb you have climbed a mountain, crossed an ocean, and run through the finish line ribbon. Sake bombs are very much about achieving something, and that is far different than finishing a glass of sake, wine, beer or a cocktail.
Is the bomb wrong?
I don't think so. In fact, to a certain degree I like the fact that it's a "Sake" bomb and not a Chardonnay Bomb or a Merlot Bomb or a Shochu Bomb. At least the word sake is in there. If a "Sake Bomber" goes to a sushi bar that doesn't do sake bombs then perhaps they may drink a sake by itself. Is it the perfect marketing tool for the sake industry? Hell no! In all honesty they do not even know what a sake bomb is in Japan. (And the whole "bomb" aspect doesn't play well in a nation that was crushed by US made bombs!)
Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ truesake.com. (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All other correspondence should use info @ truesake.com.)