In 2008, my wife and I ate dinner at a Los Angeles sushi restaurant and I enjoyed my first bottle of premium sake served chilled. Over the next few weeks, I frequented many sushi restaurants in search of the same sake brand but I did not find it. In fact, I realized that each restaurant that I went to had altogether different brands.
So, I did what most people do nowadays: I Googled the name of the brew. Nothing. I took a step back and Googled the word “sake” and hoped for the best. The number one result was a Wikipedia article. I then clicked through the next 10 sites and not a single one of them actually sold sake. Lots of disparate information and nothing close to getting a bottle delivered.
I then decided to try the e-commerce wine sites. Each sold a few sake brands but provided very little information about the brands. I quickly ordered some bottles only to be disappointed when they arrived; they were nowhere near the quality of what I was hoping for or expecting. During the next few months, I scouted the sake sections of a number of local liquor stores and premium grocers, randomly buying any bottle with Japanese characters.
Later, in 2008, I made my first adventure to Japan. While visiting Kyoto, I took a private tour of a sake brewery which proved to be an amazing experience. The history, the science, the labor that went into every bottle blew me away. I was shocked at how something—sake—so central to the culture of one industrialized country is such a mystery outside of the neighborhood Japanese restaurant in the US.
Our e-commerce journeyWhen I returned home, I purchased the domain name "SakeSocial.com" and began the work of sharing sake with the American market. We have taken what we thought were the biggest barriers to American consumers buying sake and worked hard to overcome them.
- Help consumers find what sake brew(s) best suit their palate
- Provide a community where others can share their thoughts
- Offer a Sake of the Month Club that takes consumers on a tasting adventure
- Present an easy-to-use e-commerce experience with peer reviews and suggestions
Being a web entrepreneur, I had no idea what I was in for launching a sake business. I figured, launch a webby 2.0 site, with a robust e-commerce package and community plug-ins, buy some inventory from an importer, and BAM! A piece of cake, right? Then came my first call with a consultant: five pages of notes and more questions than answers. His cautionary tale was no joke: prohibition laws carry over in many parts of the country, restricted interstate commerce, licensing restrictions, importing snares, and the like. To this day, the list of hurdles to jump is still growing.
Sake Social is my first foray into what is referred to as a "lifestyle business." We are using technology to take a nascent product and launch it onto the grand stage—all the while enjoying the experience of creating the kind of company we dreamt of working for. Everything from the packaging to the marketing and branding has been toiled over to provide our customers with something that we are deeply proud of.
Our mission is to simply find the perfect bottle of sake for you.
If you feel there is any way that our service can be improved, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to your ideas, feedback, and your business.
Welcome to Sake Social!