We helped a 130-year-old Japanese sake brewery go global in style. A cross-cultural collaboration for a project that demanded a broader point of view, and standards worthy of an Emperor.
Brewing sake is a millenary tradition in Japan, and yet most of the world doesn’t have a clear understanding of this drink. Many think it’s a very alcoholic drink – which it is not. Others only tried it warm at the local sushi bar.
Nihonsakari, a 130-years-old brewery from Nishinomiya that has long been the selected supplier for the Japanese Imperial Household, knew that in order to go global it had to help its new audience see sake as they had never seen it before: as a convivial drink to be enjoyed during any meal or a relaxed time with friends, and not as a spirit limited to special occasions, as it is often perceived outside of Japan.
This is how the Sakari brand was born. Designed to differentiate itself from the traditional and somewhat mysterious image of sake, Sakari is a contemporary sake brand based on the idea of ”brewing joy”.
Sakari’s logo is a hint to its history: the five sake glasses that create a sakura flower are a reference to the five founders of the brewery.
The labels take cues from Japanese traditions: every color and pattern has a very specific meaning.
After analyzing the cultural trends and perceptions surrounding sake and Japan, we developed a brand strategy meant to bring sake closer to our audience.
Sakari embodies a specific image of Japan: warm and cozy, in balance between tradition and a more contemporary taste. Sakari is a relatable brand, willing to educate its audience without pomp or solemnity.
The visual identity has clear Japanese roots, but they are reinvented to be easily readable and recognizable by a non-Japanese audience.
Making a brand go global is about more than just amplifying its reach. What was relevant for the home market might not be as important for going abroad.
We had to help Sakari translate its deeply-rooted values for a non-Japanese audience, navigating over simplifications, stereotypes and misunderstandings. Coming from different cultures, the dialogue between Sublimio and Sakari was one of continuous mutual learning.
The brand website was designed from this perspective: a journey in understanding the true nature of sake from a non-Japanese point of view.