True Business – The Shipping News (and it’s not good)
In one sense, we as True Sake and you as our valued customers were very lucky during the pandemic from a retail sake selling perspective. We had a ton of sake to sell, because the restaurants were closed and we were moving their allotments from our shared distributors. Our only issue of inconvenience was on the supply chain for shipping sake, which meant we were out of inserts for a while and had to change to a different shipper temporarily. You probably didn’t notice. We didn’t feel the headache that our importers and distributors felt from the beginning, but we do now.
Covid-19 has caused a colossal cluster-muck in the shipping of international merchandise, and it all has to do with containers that you often see on container ships. Yes, those containers. There is a shortage, and there is a scheduling waitlist and backlog. Our importers can’t get containers. It’s a first for us, and pretty much the market. There have been some interruptions that we noticed with certain sakes being OOS (out of stock) for a month or so. That number began to increase, and so too did the notes and letters from our distributors and importers mentioning that there will be shortages and they would have to “allot” certain sakes to “make it fair in the market.”
The good news is that you have a Mei on your side. Yes, our Mei who leads Team True Sake and is the ordering guru. She has the pulse on almost every bottle of sake that comes to the US, and the ones she doesn’t she can “sense” those! And she is always looking out for you. Her least favorite words are “out of stock,” and she uses a white board at the store to track them. That’s her job.
The other Team Members’ job is to get you into a different sake, if your brew is out of stock, and we are pretty damn good at it! So when you see OOS don’t frown. Let our Team turn the frown upside down by offering you an array of other amazing sakes that will fill the void nicely. It’s actually a good time for you to explore some other brews. The shipping container blues is a very good time to branch out. Try some sake from other prefectures or featuring other rice varietals. Try some brews from the same brewery if your favorite sake is OOS. We need to roll with the punches, and we can actually come out on the other side having been introduced to some new favorite sakes.