Episode-107: Kura One by Katsunari Sawada (Part 1)

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In this week's episode of Sake On Air, two of our regular hosts Chris Huges and John Gauntner came together to chat with Katsunari Sawada san, the mastermind behind KURA One!

For anyone unfamiliar with KURA ONE, the company's mission in their own words “is a sake service that changes the "unreachable" into "deliverable".” Moving away from the bigger sized 720 ml bottle and creating a smaller 180 ml aluminum sake can, an alternative to the traditional “One Cup”. Sawada-san has set out to change the sake industry and is working with representative brands of sake breweries that have won awards both domestically and internationally, hoping to promote sake.

With the brand KURA ONE becoming more and more prominent it might come as a surprise that the man behind the idea did not really drink sake in his 20s and 30s. When asked why, he answered that it was because of the image he had about alcohol being used to “just get drunk” and it was not until much later in his life that he connected with the beverage. In fact, he attributes coming back to Japan after extensively traveling all around the world that made him realize his role and responsibility in helping people to discover the charm of his home country, Japan.

Knowing this could only be done by truly understanding the local mindset, he visited 47 prefectures across Japan, in which he had many opportunities to exchange opinions with craftsmen and brewers. This uniquely valuable experience is what became the foundation of it all, as he became fascinated by regional products born from geographical and cultural backgrounds, influenced by the way of life, thinking, and attitude of the craftsmen who create them. This is where the Idea of KURA ONE started.

Combining his incredible PR & communication knowledge with finding a new way to package and showcase these producers is what we see in KURA ONE today. Finding smart solutions that both help the people in the industry who make the sake, as well as using data to customize the products for customers to easily understand the product with smart technology to help to easily deliver and store them. Plus dare we say, these can’s are also incredibly beautiful to look at.

Prepare yourself for an engaging conversation as John, with his extensive knowledge of the sake import industry follows up with Sawada-san on some key points of why or why not this might be the future of packaging.

As always, let us know what you think about this week's episode and we will be back very soon with part 2! In the meantime make sure to check out KURA ONE on Instagram, as Sawada-san has mentioned he will have some promotions coming up soon and of course, don’t hesitate to also reach out to us with any sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.

At the same time, if you’re looking for updates @sakeonair, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t hesitate to also share any other sake or shochu-related thoughts or questions with the hosts at questions@sakeonair.com and rate us on the podcast service of your choice while you’re at it.

We’ll be back very soon with plenty more Sake On Air.
Until then, kampai!

Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is brought to you by Potts.K Productions with audio production by Frank Walter. Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” was composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.