Please kindly refer to the following article in which our company’s Managing Director was interviewed. This article was posted in “The daily wines & spirits” dated July 8, 2020 (Fr.)
<Conquer the COVID-19 crisis>
Interviewed Taiki Nakayama, Managing Director of Nanzan Bussan Corporation selected for the “Branding Promotion Project for Japanese Alcohols” by National Tax Agency, the company being united as one team to acquire the status of the “Worldwide SHOCHU”
Liquor Tax and Industry Division, National Tax agency released their selection result for the “Branding Promotion Project for Japanese Alcohols” on May 29, 2020. Total number of applications was 182 during the application period from March 13 to April 3.
Based on the deliberations by the external experts, the agency selected 24 cases.
The deliberation was made focusing on four points, 1. the setting of business theme (which is connected to the Japanese alcohol branding.), 2.the validity of the business, 3.the innovativeness/originality/predominance/high modeling of the business and 4.the future possibility of the business. As for the Shochu category, following 3 entities were selected,
1.G-BRIDGE Co.Ltd. , an export trading company headquartered in Osaka city,
2.SG Management Inc. founded by Mr. Shingo Gokan, a bartender acclaimed worldwide,
3.Nanzan Bussan Corporation specialized in the export of authentic Shochu.
Regarding the budget for the project, 20 million yen at the maximum will be allocated to each business theme, serving as a big chance for the chosen entities. We interviewed Taiki Nakayama, Managing Director of Nanzan Bussan Corporation, the selected entity for the “O2O Project to convey ‘The deep world of Japanese vintage and aging craft alcohols’ “. He talked about their business policy for the project.
“Our company has focused on the export of Japanese vintage and aging craft alcohols with the export of authentic Shochu as our main business. In this project we plan to hold events in Japan to convey cross-cuttingly the attractiveness of the” made-in-Japan vintage and aging craft alcohols” including the authentic Shochu/Awamori as a main item , whisky, Sake and others.”, he explained the overview of the project. As for the details, he continued, “In order to hold such events on larger scale, we need help from various authorities of the concerned field. Therefore, we have already asked some parties to help hold events online/offline. Those parties we asked for help include Mr. Shuzo Nagumo, (a leading expert of Mixology, who produced “SHOCHU Mix up 2020″ hosted by Miyazaki Pref. on January of this year. In the event visitors could enjoy the feast of the authentic Miyazaki Shochu and Mixologist), Japan Whisky Research Center, and others. We have envisioned events like ‘the theme park of Japanese vintage and aging craft alcohol’. Though the estimated size of those events is still under consideration, we want as many people as possible to join those events to make them worthwhile.”
As for the ‘specific target of this project’, he explained “the definite target, of course, is the revitalization of the Shochu market in and outside Japan. We also want to convey the attractiveness of the long aging Shochu and especially to give certain ‘awareness’ of the unique attractiveness of Shochu to the core fans of other alcohols including whisky in particular whose market is especially huge and which is also the same spirit as Shochu .
We also plan to have talk events where various alcohol experts exchange their own different ideas about ‘aging’ (of alcohol), thereby making those events enjoyable for core fans of various alcohols. We hope those events starting from Japan will give impetus for raising the recognition of Shochu overseas”. The comment has indicated the clear aim to utilize this entire project to increase the number of fans for Shochu.
<Looking ahead strongly to the future even under the current COVID-19 crisis>
In 2020 under the current COVID-19 crisis, super strong head wind has blown against the alcohol business and Shochu market in and outside Japan is no exception. According to the Trade Statistics of Japan, the export of Shochu from January to March 2020 declined significantly by 45.2% on a volume basis and by 14.8% on a value basis.
As for the current situation surrounding the company including the impact of COVID-19 crisis on their business, Managing director Nakayama answered, “ the expansion of new coronavirus infection undoubtedly has its huge impact on the Shochu market in and outside Japan . At the time of the early spring we could hardly say that our business had nothing to do with the COVID-19 crisis. However, since we do business with clients in countries where the COVID-19 crisis gets stamped out relatively early, we think in total we have not received much impact from the crisis. Our policy to try to promote wide range of products including high value-added ones also steered our company in a favorable way.”
“I take thought for the COVID-19 crisis, of course. On the other hand, in this year marking the 3rd year since the establishment of our company, I often consider how to step up as a company even under the current crisis. We have many things to do including securing new human resources, finding new markets, and others. In addition, I personally have kept several ideas to revitalize the Shochu business.
Though we may only create small whirlwind-like movement now, through the project selected by the agency this time, we will involve many people in various worlds with our project and will firmly and steadily do everything we can through our original way as one team, aiming to acquire the status of the ‘Worldwide SHOCHU’ . Managing director Nakayama showed us his enthusiasm for the future.