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Nico Nico News reports on a special summer edition of a new classic, namely low-alcohol sparkling sake – Takara’s Mio.

Takara’s products are sold under the banner of Sho Chiku Bai [pine, bamboo and plum, three auspicious images for the Japanese] and their Mio carbonated sake has gone through several iterations over the years since it was released in 2011.

The article credits Mio with reversing the image of sake, turning it from your grandfather’s favourite tipple into something for hip young Japanese, partially thanks to its design and presentation. After the original launched in 2011, a “dry” version in a black bottle launched in 2015 and a more intensely flavoured “brut karakuchi” version in 2018.

Mio and Mio Dry had a design refresh in February 2019, complete with new associations with celebrities Mizuki Yamamoto and Takumi Saitō, using them dressed in white on promotional posters to give Mio a sophisticated and elegant image.

Takara’s next move was to launch a new version of Mio – White, a sasanigori (cloudy but with a small amount of lees). The new product is aimed at chūhai and cocktail lovers who dislike the smell of sake and don’t want something as strong as a traditional sake. The article see this as part of a growing movement among sake brewers to make products that appeal to a wider base in order to increase its popularity.

Released on 10 June 2019 as a summer special, Mio White comes in cool blue and silver packaging, in a 300 ml bottle with a recommended retail price of JPY 520 (before tax), and a very low alcohol content of 5%. It comes in a frosted white bottle instead of the usual dark brown [I’m still trying to chase down references for frosted glass being the worst for light strike] and there’s a matching gift box that makes it a perfect gift.