Net Lab reports on the wildly successful crowdfunding of a sparkling sake drunk below freezing point - it reached its funding goal in just one day.
Online and physical retailer Kurand, Sharp Corporation internal venture Tekion Lab, and Saitama's venerable Kikuizumi brewery collaborated to develop the novel drink, called HAKUNA. It was pre-sold on the crowdfunding site Makuake for between JPY 8,075 and JPY 9,500 (including tax).
The white-and-red bottle comes with a striking red case to keep it chilled. One special feature of the production process is that after the sake-specific rice is brewed, the liquid is passed through coarse-mesh bags in order to leave some of the umami-containing sediment or lees, giving it a strong rice-derived umami flavour. It's sold with a special chilling pack developed by Tekion Labs.
Freezing the sake and keeping it below freezing point stabilises the gas pressure inside. When the bottle is gently tilted, it mixes the umami-rich lees and ensures the flavour is evenly distributed. Pouring into a glass causes the umami compounds to diffuse, and the drinker can watch small particles like flakes of snow dancing in the liquid. The flavour also changes in the mouth after drinking as the sake comes up to body temperature, from cool and crisp notes to plentiful aroma and rich sweetness.
The project made its goal of JYP 1 million in one day. Rewards will be delivered to backers in December 2017 or February 2018 depending on the reward chosen.