This is what I talked about in one of our morning assemblies. (I had returned to our  brewery in Yamaguchi.)

Recently, the faces in the Tōryūmon challenge have become too familiar, and it's not interesting. I want to see more new faces and younger brewers taking on the challenge. It's okay if you fail or things don't go well. I often tell everyone, “We have two things we're number one in Japan for. One is that the number of brewers, which is 200 people, is the most in Japan. The second is the number of failures—we're number one!!” I'm sure you've all heard me say this before. So, it doesn't matter if things don't go well. I want you to take on the challenge. If it doesn't work out, you can try again.

(By the way, Tōryūmon at DASSAI is a program where young brewers with 3 to 6 years of experience handle everything from the scratch to koji-making, mixing, and pressing with just two people.)

There is a reason why I am talking about this. As you all know, we are building our third brewery on the mountain next to Shuhoku Elementary School. This brewery is scheduled to be completed in 2027. The feature of this brewery is that it will produce 5,000 koku of ultra-premium sake like “DASSAI Beyond”. The idea is to have two-person teams complete the entire sake-making process from start to finish, just like Tōryūmon. This means we need at least 10 teams, or 20 highly skilled brewers, who can match or surpass the expertise and knowledge of Mr. Nagao, our head brewer. Without such a team, this brewery won't be viable.

The new brewery including equipment is expected to cost around JPY 10 billion. However, no matter how much money we spend to build a magnificent brewery, it will be meaningless if we don't have people who can make the best use of it.

Up until now, under the leadership of our production manager Mr. Nishida, our sake production has been divided into three teams such as A, B and C team led by Mr. Nagao, Mr. Nonaka, and Mr. Makino respectively. They've been working hard, exchanging information, and pushing each other to improve the quality of DASSAI. We're confident in the results we've achieved. This new brewery will further subdivide and scale up this process. In other words, individual ability will be crucial. If this production system succeeds, DASSAI will enter a new phase. If the reforms at the third brewery are successful, I want to apply this production system and methodology to our main brewery and the second brewery as well. However, since the production capacity per unit will decrease with this system, we may need to build a fourth brewery across the river.

On a different note, I recently visited Switzerland, Monaco, and Paris, where I had a lunch meeting with journalists in Paris. During this meeting, the editor-in-chief of the food section at Figaro asked me, “What is the sales volume of DASSAI?” I replied that it was just under 9 million bottles of 720ml. He then said, “So, it's the same as the sales volume of Dom Pérignon.”

We still have a long way to go to catch up to Dom Pérignon, but if the production system we are planning now is put in place and we can produce ultra-premium sake centered around “DASSAI Beyond,” it is not a dream to compete on the same level. I want to run together with all of you to reach that point.

This is what I talked about. After this, whenever I meet young brewers in the corridors or on the stairs, I encourage them by asking, “How many years have you been with us? If it's more than three years, apply for the challenge.”