#500 - Dassai Shake
I never thought I would be part of the launch of a milkshake. The other day, on December 6, I attended the launch of a new product at the headquarters of MOS Burger in Osaki, Tokyo. But speaking of MOS, it is a major hamburger chain with 1,266 stores in Japan and 410 stores overseas, specializing in hamburgers that are "born in Japan” and its core value is to cherish the taste of Japan.
In short, I was invited to the launch of the new "Dassai Shake", a new milkshake that combines Dassai Amazake and MOS vanilla shake, which will be available in limited quantities at MOS Burger from December 26 until early February next year.
It all started when I had a conversation with Mr. Sakurada, Chairman of MOS Burger, in Asahi’s weekly magazine at the request of Mr. Hirokane, the famous author of "Chairman: Shima Kosaku”. By the way, if you would take the average age of us three, you would get over 70 years old, but we actually talked with each other like youngsters would. Because of that the editor had a hard time getting the three of us to talk about what they really wanted us to talk about.
Anyway, at the end of the conversation, Mr. Hirokane suggested that both our companies should collaborate on something together. On that suggestion, Mr. Sakurada said “Sure, that would be interesting”. After a while, I was told that he was his way of saying “Let’s do it”.
However, it seems that the product development team at MOS Burger had a hard time working on a collaboration. It is difficult for them to use sake or sake lees as an ingredient for a product, as many children come to their restaurant. Any residual alcohol is a problem.
As for the rice flour we get from polishing Dassai’s rice, it would have taken a lot of time for them to get it where they could bring something to be proud of. Even so, Chairman Sakurada seems to have the same character as I do, we do not tolerate taking more time than necessary.
And finally, they came up with the collaboration of Dassai Amazake and Vanilla Shake. However, once this started, the development team was surprised by the uniqueness of our Dassai Amazake. We’ve been asked several times why it was so different from regular amazake.
The people at MOS had a certain idea of what the quality of regular amazake was like, but ours was completely different from regular ones on the market. It contains only rice and koji, with no additives. Furthermore, the only rice used is Yamada Nishiki, which is polished down to 50%, so there is no unpleasant taste at all, and it has a really beautiful sweetness. I think this shows the powerful fragrance of rice. Anyway, everyone seemed surprised.
Furthermore, the natural rice sweetness of Yamada Nishiki is actually a perfect match for milk fat. (The proof is in the delicious ice cream made with Dassai sake lees right?)
It seems that they went through further trial and error to see if they could somehow express the actual character of Dassai in this shake. As a result, when I drank it, I could somehow feel Dassai’s characteristic flavor. Even though it is 0.0% alcohol!
What's interesting is that many of you may have had the same illusion with non-alcoholic beer. Even though it does not contain alcohol, when you drink it, it somehow makes you feel kind of soft. In fact, MOS's PR documents stated: "Although alcohol is not used in this product, it has been made to taste like it contains alcohol, so please make the final decision on whether or not to drink it yourself.”
It's a really tasty shake and will be available at all MOS BURGER stores nationwide on December 26. Please visit your nearest MOS Burger!
MOS Burger in Taipei
Around 2002, we started working on exporting Dassai to Taiwan, but it didn't go well at all at first. Partly because of a simplistic way of thinking: "trying to sell Dassai to Japanese people in Taiwan". This didn't work even after two years.
It was a bummer, and the thing that made me regain the courage for exporting Dassai in Taiwan was MOS Burger. They had been doing business in Taiwan since 1991. It was a MOS Burger located on the same street across from the Regent Hotel and Nikko Hotel, which are said to be the most luxurious hotels in Taipei.
Of course, I couldn't stay in such a luxurious hotel, so I stayed in a business hotel that looked like a love hotel on a back street and walked around Taipei. I often felt discouraged, thinking, "Maybe my sake won't be accepted in Taiwan after all."
Then I came across MOS Burger which had opened a restaurant in Taiwan the same way they have been doing it in Japan and was well accepted by the local people. How empowering that was.
I am amazed that I was able to collaborate with MOS Burger this time, and I would like to express my utmost gratitude to Chairman Sakurada and to Mr. Hirokane for the opportunity to do so.
By the way, the S size is 334 yen plus consumption tax, which is the cheapest price ever for a drink with the name "Dassai" on it!