On a recent trip to Japan to meet with a number of breweries sponsored by JETRO, I came across an interesting brewery where the focus was not necessarily on the product, but on the packaging--and its REALLY cool packaging (see image)!
The brew was decent--not bad, not knock-your-socks off good, but it got me thinking about what is really important when it comes to selling products online.
For sake, many of our customers are in the "exploring" phase, and a number of them are making purchasing decisions based on a number of factors including packaging.
In fact, some of our customers purchase sake to send as a gift, and the initial experience of opening the "gift" is *very* important.
For other products, where the prospective customers know what they want (I want a particular bottle of wine, from a particular region, or a particular type of grape) packaging is not nearly as important.
Many of the breweries that I met with in my week trip (more than 50 of them), emphasized either:
1. the type of rice they used (like wineries and their grapes)
2. the method of creating the brew (varying degrees of manual vs automated)
3. if they owned their own rice fields
4. yeast they used
5. age of their recipe
5. other unique characteristics
…all with similar packaging. There of course were a few exceptions, and, interestingly enough, without being conscious of it, I was drawn to those because I am after-all a vehicle for my customers.
So this got me thinking. Shouldn't I be telling my breweries to focus more on packaging/marketing of their brews until the US market gets more comfortable with sake as a product?
What do you think sake socialites? Does packaging matter?