PR Times carries a press release for a new crowdfunding venture, this time aimed at helping sake brewers survive the pandemic – by maturing their sake at -5°C. It hit its target amount on the first day.

The project is the brainchild of specialist sake retailer Sakura Saketen, based in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture.

Owners Yūichi Kondō and Takeshi Komazawa saw how badly sake brewers were suffering from poor sales and decided to support them through the Makuake crowdfunding site.

The crowdfunding project opened on 1 May 2020 and runs until 27 July, and aims to launch a new service where sake from all over the country is aged at -5°C, right before the point where it will freeze, and delivered to supporters when it’s at its peak.

Kondō and Komazawa see it as a way to help sake brewers all over the country who have been hit by event cancellations, restaurant closures and stay home advice. It took only six hours for the project to hit its target, and by the third day it had raised over 200% of the original amount sought.

The project consists of:

  • Maturing sake from all over Japan at -5°C and delivering one bottle which has reached peak maturation every month.
  • Subscription service lasting 1 to 12 months, with a new sake every month.
  • Developing new, fresh yet mature flavours, which Kondō and Komazawa describe as drawing out the “three-dimensional” aspect of sake.
  • Helping sake breweries by not only buying stock from warehouses but also maturing their sake under ideal conditions and adding value by creating a new flavour profile.

Kondō and Komazawa founded Sakura Saketen in 2013 after meeting at university. Struck by the lack of Japanese influence overseas during their year abroad, they decided to try to raise awareness of their favourite part of Japanese culture – sake.

They focused on exports as a way to counteract shrinking domestic consumption and also “re-import” better views of sake itself to Japan. They currently export to 13 countries and territories and are hosting “Online Nomikai with Kuramoto” to help sake breweries during the pandemic.


  • Original article (Japanese, PR Times, 4 May 2020) Includes video of Kondō and Komazawa discussing the project and the effects of near-freezing maturation (Japanese).
  • Sakura Saketen (Japanese)

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