Happy New Year everyone.
Many things happened last year. It started with the coronavirus, but even so, Dassai’s exports grew steadily as overseas markets picked up, making up for the negative impact on a national level in Japan. As opposed to the domestic market, exports of products with a high unit price tend to be the first to pick up and grow well. Thanks to this, last year we were able to achieve the highest sales amount in Asahi Shuzo's history.
However, we had a sad experience last summer, when we lost one of our own in July. After the accident, we spent a lot of time poking around, looking for failures in our safety management measures. In the midst of all this, we started a plan to double the salaries of our employees in five years, not only to be a safe sake brewery but also to become a brewery where every employee can feel proud to be part of it. (We are aiming for the highest level in the food industry).
This goes along with what I've been saying a lot lately: that sake is labor-intensive, and that "labor-intensive" is pretty much "inferior and retarded from the Western scientific point of view". However, "labor is essential when trying to make good sake”.
Sake crafting takes a lot of manpower to put in the time and effort: currently, there is 130 production staff for 6 million liters!
In addition, these staff members need to be of a technical level higher than ever before. In other words, if we want to make good sake, we need more people. We need something different than the basic "profitable production model" of the past, where only a few elite technicians and many others produce. An excellent leader is a must, but we also need staff who can understand what the leader is trying to say and do. In other words, a super-disciplined group! This would not be possible if we didn't promise high remuneration to these staff members.
I believe that the pursuit of excellence is the solution to the economic polarization that has plagued the developed world in recent years and is also plaguing Japan.
In addition, it is necessary to seek out customers who understand Dassai as the result of this pursuit of excellence, not only domestically but also globally.
It takes a lot of work to craft Dassai. We will continue to push that further this year.
I hope for your continued support this year!