News release site Jiji.com has a press release from SAKE HUNDRED, part of Clear, Inc. [who also run the Kurand chain of all-you-can-drink sake bars and the SAKETIMES site] on their attempt to support sustainable agriculture.

They aim to support their partner sake breweries by paying for some, or all, the rice they need for brewing.

Clear, based in Tokyo and helmed by Ryuji Ikoma, develops commercial sake projects including SAKE HUNDRED. They were inspired by the concept of community-supported agriculture (CSA, 地域支援型農業, chiiki shien-gata nōgyō in Japanese) to support the partner breweries that supply the products they rebrand by taking on some or all of the cost of purchasing their rice. 

They hope that doing so will disperse the breweries’ cashflow risk and contribute to the development of sustainable production.

The article explains CSA as a system where consumers have a contract with producers to pay in advance for regular deliveries of agricultural products. [Local farm subscription service?]

Sake breweries need to sustain cashflow over a long period – from purchasing rice for brewing until the sake is brewed and ready to sell. This system, with a set period before cash is recovered, results in high operational costs. The recent pandemic has flatlined sales through bars and restaurants, leaving breweries in a tight spot for cash management and in danger of running into financial difficulty.

SAKE HUNDRED hopes that paying for all or some of the rice will stabilise their brewery partners financially. They’re also prepared to pay product development costs for the first lot produced by new partner breweries to make working with them a low-risk proposition. Strengthening their supply chain, sake brewers and farmers growing sake rice, will contribute to sustainable production and support their brand.

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