The Japanese Huffington Post site covers a full-page ad from the Asahi brewery, makers of the popular sake Dassai, in the nationwide edition of the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper. The ad implores buyers of its sake not to pay over the list price, publicising the recommended retail price and listing official retailer nationwide.
The sake seems to have become a victim of its own success, with an increasing number of unauthorised online sales by unofficial sellers. The National Tax Agency is also taking action against unauthorised sales (presumably as the sellers may not be paying the requisite taxes). The brand’s fame also increased after it was used by former US President Obama in the White House. There have been more than a few cases where the sake has sold for a “premium price” many times the recommended retail price.
A representative from the Asahi brewery commented that their sake is meant to make those who drink it happy, but was currently being sold by outlets such as major supermarkets for a high “premium price”. Many consumers were not aware that the price they were paying was well over Asahi’s recommended one, so they took out the newspaper ad to raise awareness.
The ad was taken out not only to promote the official retailers who sell Dassai at the recommended price (their names take up half the page) but also because Asahi are concerned about possible deterioration of quality as the sake is passed on to other sellers. The Asahi representative commented that as the supply chain is not transparent they cannot be sure that the sake has been stored properly. A high-priced but poor quality product is not what they want to try pleasing their customers with.