Sake Story - SakeSocial.com "Rice, Water, & You"
I used to refer to it as the "Shipping News" - the countless and endless updates that kept most out of state readers with frowns on their sake sipping faces - frowns because we could not ship great sake to them. But alas the "Shipping News" turns a new page today for you folks in all corners of this superb country looking for better ways to have premium imported Japanese sake dropped on your doorstep. Cloudy skies are parting!
Without going over the long and laborious - trials and tribulations - of our efforts to ship sake in a free market economy from one state to another - please allow me one brief rant about a "system" that we have in this country that is BS at best and completely self-serving for a handful of "protected" people and companies at worst. As many of you know you can ship pencils to anybody - anywhere - anytime without any problems. But you cannot do that for alcohol. Why? There is simply no logical answer - no matter who is trying to spin it - their best arguments are the weakest in terms of a free (laissez fair) market economy scenario. They cannot justify this protectionism in any way, shape, or form. Certainly states that have their own liquor boards and use a "state store" system can say that it's their right as a state to sell and tax alcohol by them for them, and all outside sources be damned! Horrible logic - as all State-Run stores virtually have zero sake representation thus denying their free citizens the ability to purchase and explore sake and other forms of alcohol. This is almost akin to communist countries telling their citizens what they can and cannot have. Is that American?
Worse than state-run states are the states that protect local distributors. Hell's hottest fires burn for you hypocrites. These states simply throw up state laws limiting the amount and types of alcohol that can be shipped to their citizens. Some do this using sneaky and quite frankly tacky "registration" fees for each label of booze that you would like to "ship" within their borders. For example one state throws a $350 fee per label that must be paid each year. Is that worth it for a store or small winery that wants to ship five to ten cases per year? Is it worth it for a store like True Sake that has an inventory of over 250 sakes - to pay that amount on each sake label (sku) to register it? No way. And then some states use a devious method that places a limit on how much alcohol it's citizens may purchase within a year from outside sources. Think in terms of one case of wine, 2 gallons of hard alcohol, etc. Purely Communistic controlling methods in the "free-est of all nations!" NICE! And why do they do these tricky state regulations - to protect their own distributors of alcohol - plain and simple!
How does it work? You own a small distributing company in Blank City. You do not want competition in any form, so you call your State Representative and say please protect me from these outside distributors who are taking my customers. You create a diversion such as - they are not paying taxes to the state whereas I am. You send the State rep several cases of booze and voila! The state representative creates a bill that limits outside retail/winery etc intrusion into the state - not for the benefit of its citizens, but rather for the benefit of it's distributors and certain private businesses. And this bill requires compliance for that specific state. Compliance is the bane of my existence!
To be compliant in all of the states is not only a paperwork nightmare, but is also costly as hell. And that is the point. To make it so difficult that folks such as myself don't even try to climb the hill! (Now there are certain "grey area" ways around this - like just ship to anybody however much they want and pray that you don't get caught. There is a large contingent of wineries and wine retail stores that place the onus of compliance on the receiver via liability - meaning that when you order and take receipt of alcohol you assume all liability, but this is a pipe dream if and when the Feds catch you. This defense is a very slippery slope, and many of my fellow retail stores take this approach, and I wish them luck. But I cannot operate that way - I must be legal. And therein is the reason why True Sake does not ship outside of CA.)
So for the past four years many people/groups have come to me and said Beau let us take care of your out of state shipping. They have proposed on-line retail empires, but never once did they have the horses to do so. I never felt comfortable partnering with anybody to crack this inter-state issue - until now. Last fall two gentlemen came to me with their idea of shipping sake via a web-based community store. I knew sake communities and I knew stores, but what I didn't have was the money to go completely compliant. That was my golden rule - we must be completely above board compliant. They agreed and using their strengths of technology and community building and my strengths of all things sake we formed a partnership.
I would like to introduce you sake enthusiasts to SakeSocial.com, which one day soon will house the largest and freshest collection of sakes on the internet, and most importantly will ship legally and compliantly to as many states as possible. We launched and re-launched this website very recently, and have been working out some kinks and hiccups with our delivery methodology. In all honesty - two weeks after launching our fulfillment center - the company we pay to store, fill orders, ship, and maintain compliance documents for each order filed for Chapter 11. Talk about bad timing! But everything happens for a reason and we now are in bed with an even better and far more professional business to get you the sakes you want in the fastest manner possible.
As "Sake Director" of SakeSocial.com I am currently handcrafting our inventory - a process that I wanted to do slowly and effectively. It's pretty hard to just toss up 250 sakes and say buy me. We have to grow our inventory slowly and purposefully - on account of those pesky compliancy issues, but in the end we will have the best selection of sake outside of Japan a click away from you.
Take a gander at the site - read the content - it's all from yours truly. Then come visit me in the Forums! Yes, at long last we have a connection point other than the "AskBeau" on this newsletter. I want these Forums to be "THE" sake-centric meeting grounds for all things sake on the Internet. And when you go you will notice how fresh we truly are, as the forums are still very under-represented. The early bird gets the sake worm. Click here to visit the Forums directly.
"Beau, you should do a blog!" Ahhhhh I have heard that for years. Ask and ye shall receive. "Beau's Blog" is just that - a fun and informative way of expressing sake in an educational and entertaining format. So go and "Blog Me." Read some of the pieces and then make suggestions about what you want to learn about. This is now a two way street. Click here to visit Beau's Blog.
Then check out the inventory. Again we are growing this great selection weekly, and it will mirror the amount of True Sake's selection by year's end. Oh and how about that "Sake Selector" - yes using my TasteMatch System we now have a filtering system that can put you into a sake that speaks to you via three or four simple questions. So for those uninitiated or less motivated let us do the work for you! Hit the Sake Selector and see what comes out. Or for you pros - just click on the inventory and start ordering and rating our brews. Click here to check out the inventory.
HOW ABOUT A PERK? IF AND WHEN YOU ORDER FROM SAKESOCIAL.COMSIMPLY TYPE truesake IN THE PROMO CODE BOX DURING CHECKOUT AND RECEIVE 10% OFF OF YOUR ORDER.
Now for those of you who are "Stated" out! I am so truly sorry - I am - I really am. But we are working on and exploring other methods to get sake to you as quickly as possible. It is difficult and a sincere pain in the rear and as stated above it's "UnAmerican." You should call your State reps to complain.
I came up with the slogan "Rice, Water, and You" because of the simplicity and purity of sake. And yet deep within the simplicity is a profound and fundamental complexity, which keeps bringing me back. I hope thatSakeSocial.com will act like that - a meeting ground of sake education and enlightenment that keeps bringing you back! Please make me proud, because I said that the TrueSake Newsletter readers were the best in the industry! Come spread your wings and meet your fellow readers in the forums - lay claim to this new piece of sake turf! It's yours!