Evolution made possible because it didn’t sell

# Interview/talk

It is interesting…

“But, hmm…” I heard this same reaction from customers over and over as a salesperson.

Canned sake has lots of advantages. It protects the meticulous taste from light and oxygen. It’s light, won’t break, and is very stylish. And many sake breweries did in fact show interest. It also matches the needs of those who enjoy sake, enabling them to savor sake from different regions in small portions.

On the other hand, glass bottles are the standard packaging for sake, so an obstacle was that few sake breweries had the equipment to fill cans. Thus the transportable free-rental filling system Tsumetaro was born. We thought that breweries that were interested, yet didn’t have the equipment to use cans, would readily use this.

Doesn’t sell despite existing needs?!

When we presented Tsumetaro at the Tokyo Pack 2018 show, we received favorable reaction from both domestic and international visitors. Some even said “This equipment is what we were looking for,” so we expected the number of users to smoothly increase.

But it didn’t go that easily.

As we introduced Tsumetaro, we learned of the various issues that sake breweries face. They were anxious as to whether it would truly sell, and each had worries about the sales workload for sake retailers, knowledge of design and promotion, gaining the consensus of employees, etc. This experience drove the evolution of Tsumetaro.

Shifting from “a company that simply sells packaging” to “a company that solves solutions together”

We are a company that sells packaging, but we realized that that alone has no meaning. So we took a step back and pondered, “What kind of entity should we be for the benefit of sake?” And we arrived at the social tasks of regional revitalization and promoting the culture of sake.

Sake is packed not only with local rice and water, but also the history of the region and brewery and the stories of the people involved. On the other hand, it is true that only very knowledgeable people are aware of this. We contemplated how to communicate this and placed our focus on festivals.

Many people gather at festivals, revel in conversation and the mood, and create memories. After they go home, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the moment they take a sip of sake, the aroma and taste along with the enjoyable festival scenery and people and the story of the region are evoked and trigger nice conversation?

The process of collaborating with city hall workers and sake breweries in the creation to boost the region and culture embodied the moment that we became more than salespeople and clients—we became partners working to enhance society.

We hope that Tsumetaro becomes more than a product/service, but a warm presence that links to people and their sentiments.


Masaki Ochiai (right)
Kazuya Hiraoka (left)

They are engaged in selling one-serving size sake cans and operating Tsumetaro as members of Sales Sales Department 1 at Toyo Seikan Co., Ltd. They blend in with sake breweries and local stalls at festivals, using their sales skills to briskly sell canned sake. They both love sake.
<Contact for Inquiries>
Sales Department 1, Toyo Seikan Co., Ltd.
Tokyo: +81-3-4514-2022 / Osaka: +81-72-631-3120