Ask Beau – “What is the most popular sake in the store and why?”
Fernanando R from San Jose asked a pretty “popular” question!
The old “most popular” sake in the store question gets asked quite a lot, but I think people ask it as a safety step to buy a good sake under the premise if it is good for the others then it will be good for me!
Historically Kikusui Junmai Ginjo (JG13) was a powerhouse selling sake, which thankfully sold itself. Why? The packaging is great and it was very popular in Japanese restaurants at a good price point. People would walk in and say, “That’s it” “That’s the one!” “Oh my god it’s so cheap!” (In terms of restaurant pricing!) And it flew off the shelf. But once restaurants starting carrying better and better sakes, and after customers of True Sake tried other sakes in the store Kikusui lost its lucky charm, and became a pretty popular brew, but not the top seller.
For a pretty good period Divine Drops (Ginga Shizuku DG14)and Pride of the Village (Sato no Homare) were very strong sellers as they became very popular in more western restaurants. Again, people would come in and spot them immediately and would gobble them up. As a retailer we love answering questions, but it is a whole lot easier when folks walk in and pick-out a brew without saying a word. So nice!
Then came the nigori rush, and Rihaku’s Dreamy Clouds (NI01) and Kamoizumi’s “Summer Snow” (NI06 NamaAlert). This is when 6 out of 10 folks who walked through the door would ask for “Nigiri” “You mean nigori?” “Yes, nigori the unfiltered and cloudy sakes.” And nigori was it! So very popular! (A side shout out to Kamoizumi’s other brew called “Kome Kome” (SP06) which also did very well for quite some time because of restaurant exposure and a great name – Happy Bride.
How about now? Well it’s a toss up, but the three most popular sakes in the store I would say – remember we still mom&pop it without using the barcode machines so it is more of a guestimate – are Narutotai Nama Ginjo Genshu aka “Beau-shu” (NA??), Sayuri Nigori (NI07), and the little powerhouse cans from Kikusui called “funagushi” (NA??). So Kikusui is back in the top spot with a different product and people have an affinity for unpasteurized sake. On a side note the brewery, which we probably sell the most sake for is also a toss up between Wakatake from Shizuoka and Dewazakura from Yamagata prefecture.
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.)