September 2013

Sake Victories – The MONSTER Can from Kikusui

Posted by Beau Timken in 2013, Newsletter, September
True Sake When I go to Japan I always stumble upon a sake that I know our customers would like. But what if I already knew our customers liked a sake that was only available in a little 200ml can and I saw a 1,000ml can? Well you know! I HAD TO HAVE IT! It was roughly two years ago that I saw the “Monster Can” from Kikusui known as Funaguchi and asked the President of the brewery if I could it exported to the US. Funaguchi is a top seller at True Sake. People love the power and flavor found in those cans of various colors. It’s not everyday you can taste a delicious little pocket rocket that puts you on your rear end. Yup, it’s that powerful! I call it the “decompresser.”

So I waited and waited and heard nary a thing from Niigata. “Where are my MONSTER cans?” I waited more. And more. “Okay now what is going on?” When we spoke with Kikusui they said that the cans were too big and unstable for long transport. Huh? What are you talking about? The little cans are sort of flimsy with their aluminum shell, but was that really the reason? Did they not want to export them and were looking for an excuse? Hmmmmm! I was sort of bummed out because I knew the big cans would be a hit. I sort of understood how the bigger cans had more flimsy surface area and could be perceived as unstable for shipping. But come on!

True Sake Fast-forward a couple of months when we got the call! Bingo we would get the cans in September, but under one condition! True Sake had to buy ten cases to secure the shipment. No problemo! As a result of my asking to ship and my order Kikusui has given True Sake a 6 months “Exclusive” for the MONSTER Can. (I am not so keen on exclusives because I want the breweries to make money, please see the “Ask Beau” section of this newsletter for more on “Exclusives”)

Fast-forward again to early this week when a group of sake industry people came to True Sake for a fact-finding visit. While speaking to one of the gentleman I found out that he is the owner of sake bottle and label making company. He proceeded to show me several bottles in True Sake that he designed and produced. Then he pointed to the little Funaguchi can and said I make that for Kikusui. No WAY! I laughed and he asked why? I told him about trying to order the MONSTER cans and the “excuse” of the cans being unstable. He looked at me like he was very well aware of my request, and he said that the instability issue was absolutely true.

The Kikusui MONSTER can is actually a beer can. Yes siree! He said that it was easy to ship and transport beer in that size of can because of the carbonation in the can that produces a structural resistance, which equates to stability. Sake doesn’t have the carbonation resistance and as such is more instable. He said that they actually thought of putting a gas in the can to achieve the resistance, but it didn’t fly! Nevertheless the MONSTER can is now at True Sake. And that is a True Story!

So come be the first people outside of Japan to get your little hands on this beast.

  • The Kikusui Funaguchi “MONSTER Can” Nama Genshu (19%) $27/1,000ml

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