(I wrote this the day before the Tohoku earthquake on Feb. 13, 2021)
Specifically, we invested in equipment. At the end of last year, we added two new sake presses (filter presses). We used to have eight of them, so now we have ten.
The reason is that in recent years, there have been times when we have had to extend the fermenting time for a certain tank of sake because there was still another sake inside the presses.
As a result, we could not press the sake at the right timing, and it would end up be either too young or went too far in the fermentation, and some of it was not of perfect quality.
So that’s how we decided to deal with this matter.
We will also be building a chilled cold storage facility that can maintain a temperature of -5 to -10 degrees Celsius. The storage capacity is to be of 1.5 million 720ml bottles, which would probably make it the largest refrigerated warehouse for sake in Japan, and represent a little over one and a half months of production.
The reason why this is necessary for us is because, we make sake according to the expected demand at the time. Consequently, our monthly production volume inevitably goes up and down, and this causes the production staff to work overtime. We consider that staff overworking have an impact on quality, and this is what we are trying to avoid.
Writing something like this, some of you might rightfully think "Anybody could do such things as long as they got money”.
Well, yes. However, for a sake producer that has been struggling in the midst of the corona pandemic, with last year's sales at 80% of the previous year's level, a total of more than one billion yen is still an impressive amount.
Anyway, this investment is a necessary amount for Dassai, to ensure that the quality of all the sake labeled as "Dassai" we supply is of a quality we are proud of.
Also, we are recruiting. This April, 11 young staff will join our company. However, we are still short of 40 people for the sake-making side, so we still need more. If you think you can do it, why don't you join us to craft Dassai?
In other words, because of the coronavirus Dassai have taken a lot of punches, is staggering, in pain, but is not about to put its fighting arm down. This is what makes Dassai unique.
Every crisis is an opportunity. The reason we have been able to survive torrential rains and unreasonable criticism such as “Dassai buys too much Yamada Nishiki”, is because we have focused on how to make the best Dassai possible and deliver it to our customers.
I've been saying this a lot lately, but for example the Mesopotamian civilization came about because of, or thanks to, the overflowing of the Tigris-Euphrates River - which created fertile land and encouraged farming. The spread of the plague in the Middle Ages gave rise to the glorious Renaissance in Italy.
In other words, the human race has developed by overcoming disasters and difficulties.
Coronavirus or not, Dassai will keep on moving forward with you.
(I wrote this after the Tohoku earthquake on Feb. 13, 2021)
I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to those who have been injured or whose homes have been damaged. However, it is a blessing that there were no fatalities. I would like to express my sincere respect for your efforts in dealing with the disaster.
What we learned this time is that if the infrastructure is prepared to a certain degree and individual preparations are made, the damage can be mitigated to a great extent, though not to zero.
It may not be appropriate to put sake making and earthquake response together, but we have come this far because we believe that infrastructure is important for sake making as well.