Episode 101 Show Notes
Episode 101. This week, we have an enlightening and fun interview. We’re joined by Marcus Consolini, a New York City native who became the first non-Japanese owner and CEO of a sake brewery in Japan. In 2017, Marcus was introduced to Osaka’s Daimon Shuzo and with his background in finance and banking, he began a partnership to help guide the 200 year old brewery into new markets and opportunities. With such a unique perspective on the sake industry, both inside Japan and abroad, we knew we’d have an interesting discussion with lots of insight. For our tasting, we get to explore Daimon’s flagship export to the U.S., the “Road to Osaka” Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori. So listen in this week as we learn all about Marcus’ fascinating journey into the world of sake! #SakeRevolution
Skip to: 00:19
Welcome to the show from John and Timothy
About Daimon Shuzo:
Daimon Shuzo was established in 1826 at the foot of the Ikoma mountain range. For 6 generations we have been producing some of the finest Sake in Kansai, the central region of Japan. With a focus on fresh spring mountain water, using the highest quality of rice and 200 years of refined skills – we bring our craft to the world.
Nestled between Kyoto, Osaka and Nara we have been servicing these fine regions for centuries. Osaka, our home, has been well known as the economic center of Japan since the Edo period. In addition Osaka is also known as the “Kitchen of the Nation” and a producer of some of the finest foods in the country – the Gastronomic center of Japan. This history has made our customers in Kansai enthusiastic about both their foods and the quality of their Sake.
Daimon ‘Road to Osaka’ Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori
Brewery: Daimon Shuzo
Classification: Nigori, Tokubetsu Junmai
Rice Type: Gohyakumangoku
Importer: Vine Connections (USA)
Sake Name English: Road to Osaka
View on UrbanSake.com: Daimon ‘Road to Osaka’ Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori
NOTE: Use Discount Code “REVOLUTION” for 10% off your first order with Tippsy Sake.
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Episode 101 Transcript
John Puma: 0:21
Hello everybody, and welcome to Sake Revolution. This is America’s first sake podcast. I am your host, John Puma from the Sake Notes. Also the administrator over at the internet Sake Discord do come down and join us sometime. And on this show, I am the old fashioned sake nerd, and that does not mean I put sugar and bitters in my.
Timothy Sullivan: 0:47
And I am your host, Timothy Sullivan. I’m a Sake Samurai, sake educator, as well as the founder of the Urban Sake website. And every week, John and I will be here tasting and also chatting about all things, sake and doing our best to make it fun and easy to understand.
John Puma: 1:04
that is right, Tim. And, and by the way, Tim, after episode 100, it’s really nice to sit down with you just one-on-one and talk sake.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:15
hate to break it to you, John, but we have a very special VIP guest in the studio today. Yes,
John Puma: 1:22
Timothy Sullivan: 1:22
yes, absolutely. We have a guest from Japan and this is going to be a super interesting interview. So if you’ll let me, I’ll introduce our guests for today.
John Puma: 1:31
well, since, since they’re coming from Japan, all right. This time.
Timothy Sullivan: 1:36
So today we are thrilled to welcome Marcus Consolini who became the first ever foreign CEO of a Japanese sake brewery. When he took over management of Osaka’s Daimon Shuzo in 2017, Marcus was raised in Manhattan and went on to a career in finance, banking and asset management. He found his way to an appreciation of Japanese culture through studying martial arts, tea ceremony, and architecture, along with several stints of being based in Japan for work. When Marcus was introduced to Daimon Shuzo he made the decision to help guide the nearly 200 year old brewery into a new phase of their business. By combining the company’s history and tradition with a modern approach to both domestic and international markets, Marcus, we are so excited to talk with you today. Welcome to the show.
Marcus Consolini: 2:26
Tim, John, thank you for having me. It’s great to be here. Great to be in, in dialogue with fellow Americans.
Timothy Sullivan: 2:32
John Puma: 2:34
So, diving right into it. Uh, You’re kind of in a unique position, I think as the first foreigner who is the, the brewery president at a Japanese sake brewery, that’s kind of awesome. But I imagine that’s, that’s kind of a a journey with some ups and downs. What’s been your experience with that role over the last few years. And how does that, you know, has it all come together for you?
Marcus Consolini: 2:57
I would define it as a journey of ups and downs.
John Puma: 3:02
Well, all right then.
Marcus Consolini: 3:03
you, you, you, you you hit it. Perfect. You know, it’s an interesting journey to say the least every day is, is unusual. The hard part is marrying the demand of modern day business practices with a very, very traditional product and traditional environment. I mean I’m dealing with six generations, so to speak of sake brewers and sake owners in this business. So when I say six generations, obviously talking to the sixth and seventh generation on a daily basis, but their references always to past generations and trying to figure out maneuver what we can do effectively within the confines of tradition, but yet breaking barriers within the fine confined. Let’s say new business developments or a market engagement has been a really interesting road. And I’ve got, I’ve got you know, some experience at this stage that I never thought I would have under my belt.
John Puma: 4:04
Timothy Sullivan: 4:05
Yeah. So it sounds like there’s always that tension between tradition and innovation.
Marcus Consolini: 4:10
Well, it’s, it’s a, it’s not just innovation. I mean, I think that there’s a lot of tension with regard to innovation in the sake world. And we can talk about that separately. Innovation is not something that they do naturally. It’s not like the craft beer world where everybody’s trying to innovate all the time and the brewers are constantly creating something for you know, their, their tasting room, their pub it’s, it’s much more stoic than that. So innovation comes with lots of discussion and it comes with lots of debate and analysis. I created an environment here that has I think. Surpassed a lot of that by using different generations. So I have Yasutaka Daimon who was six generation of the brewery. He is a toji brewmaster is a master toji. I have a production manager. Who’s a toji. And then I have Daimon’s youngest son who was a pharmaceutical science graduate as a up and coming toji. So I basically have three different generational levels of expertise and understanding and the sake world. And I come in as, I guess you could even say another toji bringing in an international view and a real analysis of the consumer’s needs as opposed to just the product creation. And we all sit around the room and debate.
Timothy Sullivan: 5:28
yeah. So you, you, you just mentioned your business partner at the brewery. Yasutaka Daimon I got to visit your brewery twice. So I’ve met Daimon -san a few times. And as you said, he is the sixth generation from his family. To be at the brewery. And he’s the current brewmaster. Now you have worked inside the brewery as a brewer yourself under Daimon san, and you’ve helped out with production whenever needed. I wanted to ask you, what would you say has been your biggest lessons or your biggest takeaways from working as a brewer yourself and then going on to represents and lead the brewery to new markets.
Marcus Consolini: 6:09
It’s a, it’s a good question. My biggest, so I I guess from an experience perspective, I have 30 plus years of brewing, but not brewing sake. So I was a home brewer in the beer
Timothy Sullivan: 6:20
Oh really? Oh,
Marcus Consolini: 6:23
founding member of Hong Kong brewers association,
Timothy Sullivan: 6:26
my gosh. Wow.
Marcus Consolini: 6:28
great. But you know, I, I, my experience was in tandem, so. moment that I started managing and running the brewery, I was also brewing. So I had to do both with a different mindset, as opposed to a traditional brewer comes in and they brew, or a traditional business man comes in and they business I’m doing at the same time. What I decided to do was to do the brewing in particular batches. So I would choose a particular. Product. And I would brew throughout that season of that product and I still do that. So we all still are very hands-on. The lesson that I learned, which I think is really interesting to me with a beer background is that it’s less about the ingredients and it’s all about time. So in the world of, sake, I remember in the beginning of the first year, when I was talking to Daimon-san I kept on asking him over and over and over again. For analysis of a recipe Daimon-san what is the recipe? Right. I get it. We’re using this kind of rice. We’re polishing at this level. We have our Koji, we have our yeast, we have a water, that’s our recipe. And he constantly would just look at me like I’m an idiot. He would just go, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Daimon-san, what’s our recipe. How do we describe this? How do we teach another generation? You know, that this is the recipe for this product. His answer was always about time and the Japanese sake brewer, they measure their recipes, so to speak. In time. It’s how much time you soak your rice, how much time you’ve washed your rice, how much time you steam your rice, how much time your rice is in the Koji room? How much time you’re in the ferment. Fermenter how much time you’re maturing. It. It’s all about time. They talk about time. They don’t sit around and go, you know interesting gohyakumangoku, right? or omachi they don’t talk about rice types. They talk about time and that’s a very. I guess views slash approach than what I was used to in the beer world, where it’s all about your recipe. And it’s also a very different view that translates into how the Japanese business model works. It’s about time. And, you know, I came in thinking, okay, four years, we’re going to do this. It’s going to be 25% IRR. We’re going to turn the business and the best direction. No. that’s not how it works. It’s a slow climb and it’s about time. So that was the biggest takeaway in that kind of dual role to answer your question.
Timothy Sullivan: 9:00
John Puma: 9:03
So my understanding is that one of your entry points into Japanese culture as a whole was appreciation for architecture. So now you’re, you’re getting to run a place where like, you know I think in a lot of cases we find Japanese breweries to be fascinating to study and to look at what can you tell us about that now that you’re kind of on the inside.
Marcus Consolini: 9:27
Actually I mean the introduction to Daimon brewery was through architecture. I was doing. Yeah. Directly. So what happened was I have on the side, I’ve done several projects involving renovation of historical buildings. I’ve also done renovations of warehouses in places like Hong Kong. So just it’s kind of a hobby thing.
John Puma: 9:50
Yeah, you are a man. Of many hobbies, apparently.
Marcus Consolini: 9:54
Well, all these hobbies are now my businesses, which is, I guess the fun part. It is it’s great. So I was doing a I don’t know if you’re familiar with what a matchiya is. It’s a traditional row house in kyoto. So the walls are usually attached to the neighbor, right? Just imagine a rowhouse concept. Very long narrow. I was doing a renovation on a 300 year. Piece of property and kyoto, and my architect at the time said Hey, you’re really interested in Japanese architecture, you know, a lot, you know, you’re asking me all these kinds of really deep questions. I know a place that you got to see. And I said, okay, where’s that? And he said, you got to go see Daimon Shuzo. And I said, okay I, you know, I was, I didn’t really have any ambition to go see a sake factory. I would have been a drinker of sake and an aficionado, so to speak just on my own for over 20 years at that stage, I knew John gauntner I’d been to some of his dinners at one stage in Tokyo, this kind of thing. But my architect said, you have to see this place. I said, okay. So I actually went to the brewery and I was under the impression that I had an introduction to Daimon-san. But it turns out that Daimon-san didn’t know I was coming. So whether that introduction or not, I don’t know. But the funny thing is I walk into the door of the traditional brewery and Daimon-san is right there. Just so happened. He’s walking out of the brewery and I start speaking to him. In Japanese. And he starts speaking to me in English and I’m going, okay, this is kind of unusual, but the, the, the reference to architecture is that when you come into Daimon brewery, you realize that unlike a majority of the breweries in today’s world. So in the 1970s and eighties, when Japan was booming, a lot of the producers stock producers, they tore down their tradition. Infrastructure they’re traditional houses, their traditional kura, and they built modern day concrete production facilities, Daimon brewery did not, but I’m about 60 years ago as ahead of the curve, they built an additional building that is like a production building. Now That’s that production building is now 60 years old. So what you have when you come into Daimon, Shuzo from an architectural perspective is you have a 300 year old house with a 300 year old Japanesey garden, and then you come into a 200 year old brewing facility that is gorgeous. I mean, you, you have these amazing wood beams everywhere and you know, the tile roof, and it’s just, it’s gorgeous. And then you go into a 60 year old production building, which in itself is, you know, it’s kind of our deco architecture at this stage. So the, the lay of the land from an architecture perspective, it’s very, very fascinating. That was my first intro into Daimon Shuzo. Yeah.
Timothy Sullivan: 12:51
Awesome. Really, really cool. So I know you’re a finance guy. You have a background in finance and I, I actually have a specific question for you. You know, it goes around in my head a lot about the sake industry. I was actually at a cocktail party once a few years ago, and I met this finance guy here in the city he’s asking me what I do. And I say, I work in the sake industry and his ears perked up. And he was really interested. He goes, oh, I love sake. And he started asking me all these questions about, you know, the specs of the industry. And I had happened to read recently, this was 2018 that the value of sake export. Topped $200 million for the first time ever in 2018. And I happened to have this stat ready at, at the tip of my tongue. So I, I let the, I let this roll at a cocktail party and this investment bankers kind of like, oh, you know, like he was really let down by this number that he thought it would have been much, much, much bigger. And so the, the size of. sake market is really kind of, I think for viewing it from the point of view of other industries, it’s a really niche, smaller market. So I’m curious as a, as a finance guy yourself, what really attracted you to get involved in the sake industry, given that it is such a niche and smaller market, and none of us are going to get rich overnight being involved with this business.
Marcus Consolini: 14:17
Yeah. And I’m, I’m going to get less rich than you guys. Um, well, it is, there is an upward trend, right. And, you know an any investment banker or anybody in the finance base that looks at the numbers associated with sake sales, the you’re absolutely right. It’s a, it’s a dead cat, boom, not interested, small money. But it’s an upward trend and. My interest was that upper trend. If I look at where the brewery started, when I took over we were number 14 out of 14, and we’re now around the four or five mark. And we are the biggest exporter in Osaka. So that’s, that’s a big, that’s a big change. If you look at the international market, that’s a growing market. And so I believe that there are upward trends. However, it’s not like whiskey or gin or other products that have had seen some stellar growth numbers. It’s not like beer. And the reason is because. The natural client acquisition model is through organic growth of interest in Japanese food or culture. It’s not a beverage that will take over like a whiskey. You’re not going to just have all different types associate with it like a whiskey people usually associated with Japanese food or Japanese culture. But it is an upward trend. So my attraction to it was, was more of a. A passion play rather than, you know, I’m going to make some great returns having said that there are other ways to make good returns without necessarily focusing just on sake, but focusing on Japan, Japan is an amazing brand. As a brand.
John Puma: 16:00
Marcus Consolini: 16:01
Everybody loves Japan. And there’s a lot of reason to that. So I look at it as a Japanese branding exercise and our brand will grow and grow and grow. So that’s a long answer. You’re right. Any investment banker would look at this and say not so interesting. But it’s a long-term play like any, any Japanese business. It’s a long-term. And I think that’s exciting. I’m I’m in no. right, right now.
Timothy Sullivan: 16:30
And I think any of us who are involved professionally with sake have to have that passion piece to it. If you don’t, if you don’t have it, it doesn’t really make sense. So that’s something that I think connects all of us in the industry.
Marcus Consolini: 16:42
agree. Very much.
John Puma: 16:45
right. Well I do think it is about that time on our show where we pause the talking about. In favor of drinking a little bit of sake so that we can then talk about it. And Tim, what do we
Timothy Sullivan: 16:58
Yeah, well Marcus, you have one product on the market, in the U S right now. Daimon Road to Osaka Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori. Is that, is that right?
Marcus Consolini: 17:10
That is correct. we have other products in the United States, but they’re through association with a restaurant group down in Texas. But Yeah. You are right Road to Osaka is our flagship in the United States. And I can tell you why later.
Timothy Sullivan: 17:24
right. Well, John and I both have a bottle with us and we’d love to get this open. Talk a little bit about the specs and do a little guided tasting with you. So this is a Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori. That’s our cloudy style of sake. The rice is gohyakumangoku and we’re at a 15% alcohol here.
John Puma: 17:44
Timothy Sullivan: 17:45
All right. So we’re going to go ahead and open this up and get it into our glass.
Marcus Consolini: 17:55
Love that sound
Timothy Sullivan: 17:56
Marcus Consolini: 17:57
Now mind you, it’s 10 o’clock in the morning where I am. So
John Puma: 18:01
Marcus Consolini: 18:02
I’m going to let you know.
John Puma: 18:03
if you abstain.
Timothy Sullivan: 18:04
That’s our ASMR, our portion of the, of the podcast. That’s very popular. So I’m interested. You have a number of products in Japan, a number to choose from. What about the Road to Osaka tokubetsu Junmai Nigori made you say, this is what we want to export to the U S as our flagship. Why, why this product inparticular?
Marcus Consolini: 18:24
The answer is the U S so you know, American taste profile. Are very different than Japanese taste profiles. There’s a lot of subtlety in the Japanese palate that, that is different than American palate. We all like our, our hamburgers and our French fries, but the Japanese, the it’s much more subtle environment. So the purpose of bringing Road to Osaka under the United States was primarily around the concept of a tokubetsu junmai which we believe is a very good. Representation of any brewery. When I go out and I drink, I’m always getting somebody junmai, so to speak, and the tokubetsu means it’s special for a particular reason. In this case, our Koji rice and our kakemai it’s a little bit different. So that makes it special. But making a nigori is what we believe. Um, A very good entry point for the U S market Americans like nigori and they like it because it’s, I would use the phrase a little bit more meatier. It’s got a little bit more of a body to it, a little bit more of an intensity to it. And it pairs with, I think, most American foods. So it was a, it was for us, it was the Road to Osaka. Um, start here.
John Puma: 19:40
Marcus Consolini: 19:41
Yeah, start here. It will, we believe that it’s well received and it’s it will be well enjoyed and get onto Osaka.
Timothy Sullivan: 19:49
Now, looking at this in the glass, I’ve had a number of nigoris in my day, and I would say this isn’t a light body, nigori, and it is certainly not a heavy bodied nigori, this is very much a medium bodied there. When you swirl this nigori in the glass, there is very little sediment that clings to the glass. So it’s a very clean, super balanced style of lees that’s left in, in the bottle. So it’s not thick and chunky at all. So it has a very elegant presence in the bottle when I have nigori in a wine glass and it like every little bit of rice sticks to the glass. There’s nothing less elegant than that. But swirling this in the glass, there is next to nothing that is sticking to the glass. So you get a lovely pearlescent color and very little of that unpleasant haze. So a wonderful balance there just from the, from the aesthetics of it.
Marcus Consolini: 20:41
Timothy Sullivan: 20:42
Yeah. All right, so let’s give it a smell. Um, Lovely creamy smell, a little bit of a tropical tropical fruit. And just for me, just like a hint of coconut, maybe it’s really lovely.
John Puma: 20:55
Tiny bit and, but it’s really light on the aroma and it, you know, it’s there, it’s not overwhelming. It’s really, really kind of this, this might be a weird thing to say, but like soothing in a way. I kind of like just kind of relaxing.
Timothy Sullivan: 21:09
Yeah. And I’m also smelling a little bit of the gohyakumangoku body. So there’s, there’s just a note of a lovely ricey-ness in the aroma, hint of something tropical in the background and that lovely balance that nigoris can strike between something pina colada-y but also bringing in the rice component from sake. So that’s something I really look for when I, when I smell a nigori, but as John said, this has a very balanced hand to it, very gentle aroma and speaks to that 200 years of experience that I think Daimon has in crafting sake. For sure.
Marcus Consolini: 21:50
You know, the location of the breweries is actually very interesting if I put on running shoes right now and I run up the hill, that’s behind the brewery. I’m going to be in Nara. if I come out the brewery and I turn right? I’m going to be in killed though, but I’m actually based in Osaka. What that means for us as a sake brewer is a very interesting challenge that has taken 200 years to evolve to. And then. I have clients that are drinking my sake with very, very different. Food styles and profiles. So if you go to Kyoto, you have security and very formal, traditional Japanese sophisticated style. If you go over the hill to Nara, you have heavy Buddhist influences, lots of vegetables, vegetarian type foods which have a different profile. And then if you go into town in Osaka, it’s party central. So I’ve got. Takoyaki and okonomiyaki and big beers that are ice cold in the dead of winter. It’s it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a whole different environment. As a result, we push everything that we do, everything that we create. All of our sake has a focus on umami. Umami is our key. Most brewers will say they’re heavily focused on a dry. Maybe they’re heavily focused on a sweet some will say we’re only dry or we’re only sweet. What we say is that we’re focused on Umami and that’s a very rare percentage of the industry. I would say 5% says that they are umami producers. The result of a umami production or product is pairing and, you know, We’re not focused on what you should pair with as much as you should pair, meaning, drink our sake when you eat. And, and enjoy that combination. The Japanese in Japan, don’t do the pairing to the level that the Western community does. And that’s because pairing is influenced or comes in originally from the wine community. And it’s just not as big an influence here. But what we do say is. Drink and eat.
Timothy Sullivan: 23:56
Yeah. When I, when I talked to wine people about sake, I always describe umami. secret stealth weapon that sake has, that’s going to come in and surprise you. If you’re coming from a wine point of view, umami is the secret weapon that sake has. For sure.
Marcus Consolini: 24:13
I would agree with that. That’s a great.
Timothy Sullivan: 24:15
yeah. All right, John, so let’s give this.
John Puma: 24:17
Timothy Sullivan: 24:19
You know, when I taste nigoris, it’s always the first thing that always pops up to my mind is the texture, you know, that, that silky smooth texture, it coats your palate a little bit more than other styles of sake that are clear. So I really like that. And with your sake, there’s just a pop of sweetness upfront. And then at the finish is where I get the umami. There’s a savory note at the end. know if you pick up on that, John at all.
John Puma: 24:43
For me, the umami is a bit more prominent and it could just be that we were talking about that and I easily influenced. But now in the, in the front I am game, that texture is the first thing I noticed. I’m very texture focused when I sit my sake, but once I get through the texture, the next thing I’m thinking about is that umami and that, that richness, this has a lot of depth to it. It’s a little bit different than a lot of the nigoris we’ve had on the show before where. They’re kind of like either, either light and playing in the fruit realm or like it’s really heavy and playing like, almost like yamahai, this is kind of like right in that middle and and really kind of, you know, play both ends almost, uh, almost, almost like it’s like, you know, right by right by Nara and Kyoto.
Timothy Sullivan: 25:34
Yeah, it’s a great representation of that balance. You have to strike, you know, as a producer, can’t be too sweet. Can’t be too dry. You need to please a number of markets from your location. And this feels like a taste like a grace manifestation of that philosophy.
John Puma: 25:50
Marcus Consolini: 25:51
That’s an interesting point. When you say please, a number of markets I’ll give you a little bit of an insight. Mrs. Tanaka, one of our next door neighbors is probably one of the most influential people in my business. What do I mean by that? Is, is that always, there’s an opinion, but it’s a gentle Japanese opinion and. The team always listens to it, which is fascinating as a businessman that has some difficulties associated with it. And what I mean is I remember one of the first hurdles I had was with regard to our pricing models and coming in and saying, Hey, we’ve got to change this pricing model. And the response is no, we can’t do that because Mrs. Tanaka can’t buy our sake. you know, it that’s, that’s the real truth about sake, especially in Japan is that it’s priced at a market rates and all the brewers are in line with that. And the reason is because they want their Mrs. Tanaka to be able to purchase it and take it home at night. So Yeah. you’re, you’re the, the brewers in Japan are catering to their most immediate environment in their profiles and their pricing. And.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:02
So sake politics started home.
Marcus Consolini: 27:04
Yeah, they do, but that’s a great way to put
Timothy Sullivan: 27:07
Marcus Consolini: 27:08
And there’s a lot of politics and sake.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:09
yeah, for sure. Yeah, so this is really delicious. This is a super balanced nigori, and I think nigori is a very popular genre in the U S market.
John Puma: 27:21
Oh, absolutely. uh, I remember seeing a lot of news in the past, you know, years ago that certain breweries were in situations where they felt that they would have stopped producing nigori if it wasn’t for the west, because it is so popular here. And, you know, having something like that being know representative of your brand here is, is kind of awesome. Yeah, to be like, yes, this is, this is what you guys like. And then we do and nigori does really go well with, as he mentioned earlier, American cuisine, generally speaking, your burgers and your fries and such.
Timothy Sullivan: 27:56
Now, now, Marcus, you did mention that right now in the U S the Road to Osaka Nigori that we’re drinking is your primary product that you’re distributing here. I wanted to ask you if you foresee any changes to the sake market in the U S in the coming years, and if you plan to export any more of the Daimon, sakes in the coming years.
Marcus Consolini: 28:20
So I’ll I’ll answer the latter first. Absolutely. We will bring more sakes into America. You know, this is a long process. We’re having a lot of success in Asia. Right now with regard to the expansion and we will replicate that in America. What do I see happening in the American market? I think that actually, as a result of COVID and everything that we’re experiencing from a delay of delivery perspective, it will have an impact on the sake world in a negative way. And that is because prices will rise. We’ve already seen. A lot of the importers are raising their prices and that’s just the results of those shipping costs and passing those costs on to the consumer. I do not think that will stay, I think over time that will come back down. And the real question is will more producers come in or will more products come in now, what I mean by that is the Japanese in general are uncomfortable. Working with the foreign market. And the reason is not because of the language or it’s not because they don’t want to work with the foreign market. It’s because they’re very, self-conscious about doing everything right. And so they take their time and they want to do it. Right. And I do not think that we will see a big influx of producers in the United States, unless somebody walks them in. So that is, you know, importers that really take the time to go and find a particular brewers and bring them in. But I do think that as the palate and the understanding of sake increases in the American market, that demand will force the existing producers to bring in more product, different products and different. So you know, if you ask anybody who, any or some knowledge of sake in the American marketplace, it’s very hard for anybody to pinpoint a brand. Like, you know, Dassai will come up. Some of the big names will come up. Sure. But there’s so many little brands and it’s hard to discern one brand out of that. But I think the more product comes in, the more people become familiar with the brand. And the more comfort they will have in, I guess brand loyalty.
John Puma: 30:39
Timothy Sullivan: 30:40
Awesome. So that evolution is still coming. The
Marcus Consolini: 30:43
Timothy Sullivan: 30:44
John Puma: 30:45
Marcus Consolini: 30:45
Yeah. And to be honest, I mean, when I started this business, I did think that we were at a tipping point and I think that tipping point is going to. be there, meaning we’re not quite going to tip over it’s it’s a, it’s a, the road to Osaka is an organic growing one. It’s not a big pot at the end of the rainbow, so to speak, but that’s okay. You know, it depends on the passion. Yeah.
Timothy Sullivan: 31:09
I, I always say is the latest trend, 2000 years in the making. So.
Marcus Consolini: 31:13
That’s a great example. That’s a great expression. Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you one part of the trend that I really like, and that is you know, when it comes to sake expertise, reaching out to Daimon brewery it’s usually in two forms, it’s in the form of a connoisseur, which could be anything from a sake sommelier to you know Somebody who’s, who’s deep into sake and then the second form is somebody who’s a producer and this is very, very important to us. So one, I guess, plug with regard to Daimon brewery is that we believe in the producer. And that means that. There was a project that started in 2009 by Daimon-san. He invited a bunch of foreigners to come into the brewery and learn how to make sake. And he did it only for one season. That was 2009, but I turned it into basically an education program. So I have a program in english. Where people can come. They live at the brewery for a period of time. It’s a, it’s a week, a full week living at the brewery. And basically they brew and we teach them all of the technique associated with a full brew. And it’s a formal education course. We run classes when they’re not actually doing the work. And what I found interesting is I’ve obviously as a result, connected to a lot of the producers. Outside of Japan and it’s, it’s an amazing crowd. So when we talk about, you know, the American sake experience, I think one of the things that’s going to drive the American sake experience is the American sake maker. And hats off to them. I sit as a, as a, a member on the board of the sake brewers association of north America. And. I think it’s great that that that opportunity is coming to local environments in the United States. And I think that’ll have a big impact on people’s knowledge and understanding.
Timothy Sullivan: 33:10
Marcus Consolini: 33:11
And so I do a. lot to try to support that group and you know, anybody, who’s a brewer who calls me up any day of the week, who wants to come to my brewery. They can come here and, and, you know, learn and we can learn from them. And it’s it’s something that we really enjoy doing.
John Puma: 33:25
Timothy Sullivan: 33:26
before we finish, we wanted to ask you where our listeners can learn more about Daimon Shuzo and where they could buy Road to Osaka Sake for themselves. So online, Where should people check if they want to learn more about your brewery?
Marcus Consolini: 33:40
DaimonBrewery.com we’re a friendly bunch. So you’ll feel free to send us a message. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, send us, send us an email and ask a question. But when we update the website we offer, we have Instagram and Twitter and Facebook as well. And you can get access to it and you find it All on the website, DaimonBrewery.com. And within the United States market, we import our sake through Vine Connections. And you know, they are touching 50 states across America. So go to your local. Retailer and ask for the Road to Osaka and hopefully you’ll find it.
John Puma: 34:17
Marcus Consolini: 34:17
and then for any, for anybody that actually manages to get out to Japan please let us know. We are 30 minutes from the center of Kyoto Nara and Osaka by public transportation. Come visit.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:30
Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us. It was a real joy to talk to you. We’ve got a great insight into your corner of Japan and we love what you’re doing at the Daimon Shuzo. Also, thank you so much for joining us.
Marcus Consolini: 34:44
Thank you both. Thank you for the opportunity. It was great to connect.
Timothy Sullivan: 34:47
All right. Well, Marcus, thank you so much for joining us. And I also want to thank our listeners as well for tuning in. We really do hope that you’re enjoying our show. If you’d like to show your support for Sake Revolution, the best way to support us now is to join our community on Patreon we’re listener, supported show and. All the support that we receive from our patrons allows us to host, edit and produce a podcast for you each and every week.
John Puma: 35:12
And if you’d like to learn more about our Patreon, you can visit us at Patreon.com/SakeRevolution. However, just by listening to the show today, you are actually supporting us also. We really love it when you guys listen to the show, but also get out there and leave us a review on apple podcasts or. Podcast platform of choice. It spreads the word. It gets this podcast into as many years as possible, which is what we’re calling.
Timothy Sullivan: 35:44
And as always to learn more about any of the topics or the individual sakes we talked about in this or any of our episodes, be sure to visit our website, SakeRevolution.com for the detailed show notes. And you can also see a written transcript for each and every episode.
John Puma: 36:00
And if you would like to reach out to us directly. Or you have a sake question that absolutely needs to be answered. You can reach out to us at [email protected]. If email’s not your thing, you can also get at us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Over on Instagram, we are @SakeRevolutionPod everywhere else. We are just @SakeRevolution so until next time, please grab a glass. Remember to keep drinking sake and Kanpai.