Aug 12, 2009

Ozeki Was Unexpectedly Nice!

Among the participants in the Christmas party held for a group of kimono lovers last December, there was a sales person from Ozeki Co., Ltd. He kindly brought a big sake cask to the party. A sake cask of this kind is made of wood, often prepared for a party, and intended to be cracked open before people ladle the sake out of it to box-shaped wooden receptacles called masu and make a toast. And so did we.

Ozeki is a big sake brewery in Hyogo prefecture and is known as being producing and selling a large amount of inexpensive futsushu, or regular sake, down-market. Sake connoisseurs, who prefer sake from microbreweries, may not readily want to drink sake of Ozeki. However, the Ozeki sake I drank in this party was very nice. Other people also happily drank this sake saying, "This is wonderful!" I wondered what kind of sake this was and asked the sales person, who told the sake is nothing special but just regular sake.

I think why this regular sake was so nice is of course because we could enjoy the sake with good friends, which, however, is one reason, and I think there is also another reason. Most importantly, the sales person of the brewery was involved in the serving of the sake this time. He could use delivery service to transport the sake cask to the venue, but he drove a car to bring it. (Of course, he had to sacrifice his chance of drinking the sake with friends.)

This sales person must have been taking great care for serving the sake of his company in the best conditions. He may have wanted to do his best for all the handling of the sake, including filling of sake in the cask, shipment, temperature control, period of storing the sake in the cask, and cask delivery to the venue.

I realized that sake that is offered cordially so that drinkers can enjoy it to the full extent is the best sake. I appreciate such sake more than any other premium sake. The Ozeki futsushu sake I was served in that Christmas party was certainly great sake.


Timothy Sullivan said...

I had Ozeki "one cup" sake during "CUP SAKE WEEK" here in NYC. I have to say, I was really surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was hearty and had a wonderful full rice taste. great for simple enjoyment.

Ichibay said...

Tim san,
Thank you for the comment. I realized how much hospitality adds to the pleasure of drinking.

reesan said...

Hi Ichibay. Great article. I have always kept away from Ozeki, possibly because of a bad experience with One Cup Ozeki many years ago - it tasted like methylated spirits. :-) However, your post has revived an interest to forgive the past and try other Ozeki's in the range.

I love the sake cask in your video clip, a must for every party!

Ichibay said...

Thank you for the comment. Of course, Ozeki futsushu is not as good as an expensive premium sake from a famous jizake kura. However, taking into consideration its price, I think the Ozeki brewery is doing its best within many limitations including costs, rice quality, etc. In my opinion, large breweries have their own roles for sound development of the sake industry.

Nicolas | Japanese Umeshu said...

Thanks for the great article. It very well explains why sometimes you enjoyed a drink with friends and later don't get the same sensation when drinking the same thing at home.

Drinking sake is culture and most enjoyable when being with friends.

Let's keep sharing Japan's alcohol like Sake, Shochu or Umeshu with our friends and have a good time.

Ichibay said...

Nicolas san
Thank you for your comment.
Yes, with good drinking friends, I can enjoy sake or other drinks more, and drink more and longer.