By Eri Chihara, PR


For several months, I was asked the same question many times. The question was : “

“What do you plan on doing with the sake made from the winning rice of the Yamadanishiki Project 2019?”

At the time, we weren't sure what we would do with this rice, the finest Yamada Nishiki rice of the contest. We were only able to give vague answers such as "We want to use it to make a better, greater Dassai".

And finally, we are delighted to be able to present the finished product to you.

 The winning rice was grown by Yoshinobu SAKAUCHI from Tochigi Prefecture, from who we purchased 50 bales (3000kg) of it for 25 million yen.

Twenty-three bottles of sake, called “Dassai Beyond the Beyond”, were made from this rice, and were numbered from #1 to #23 on their label and on their own wooden box.

The auctioned bottles included numbers 7 and 8, which are considered to be good luck.

These are the only six pieces that will ever be sold.

The auction started at HK$20,000 (about ¥270,000) at 12:00 p.m. Japan time on October 30th.

The expected winning bid put by Sotheby's was about ¥400,000 to ¥700,000.


Two days later, they were up to HK$45,000 each.

(↑Online auction screen. You can check and participate at the auctions from the Sotheby’s smartphone app.)


November 10, 2pm Japan time. The live auction began at Sotheby's in Hong Kong at 2pm Japan time.

At our head office, along with the media, we watched the auction on the live screen.

Bidding was open to participants at the venue as well as over the phone and online.

Although the number of participants has not been made public, bidders came from Hong Kong, China, other Asian countries, Europe and Japan.

Two of the six bottles sold for HK$62,500, or approximately 845,750 yen, making this a record high for transactions including sales and auctions of Japanese sake. (According to our research)

The results of the six bids are as follows.

Final amount - 1HKD=13.5JPY(on the 11th of November)





















The fact that the price was higher than we had expected means that the value for Dassai was truly recognized.

It could be misunderstood that our sole goal was to sell Dassai at an expensive price, but it is actually to raise awareness for sake internationally.

One of the great things about sake is that it's good and cheap to drink, but we've also proved that there's a demand for sake in the higher price range.

We've taken on the challenge of the high-price market, which is essential for the promotion of sake to the world, and I think we've opened up a gap in this market through the auction

After the auction, I was able to arrange a conference call with Adam, the head of Sotheby's Wine in Hong Kong, who also facilitated the auction of this special Dassai.


He said he was surprised by the high bids, even in light of recent trends, and when our CEO Kazuhiro Sakurai asked if there were any future auctions for sake at Sotheby's, he gave a clear answer: "No, not at the moment.

He said: "Dassai’s challenge ended in a happy and surprising result, but it was all thanks to Dassai and its charms: it struck a chord with the auction participants. He said calmly that it would be difficult for sake as a whole in the immediate future, but smiled and said: "I am looking forward the possibilities it offers in a more global context.”

It's a nice comment for us, but does it mean that the world's tables are still a long way off for the sake genre? I strongly feel that we need to accelerate the pace on this matter.

Asahi Shuzo will continue to work hard for sake to be enjoyed anywhere in the world in the best possible condition.


Last but not least, the effects of the new coronavirus pandemic are still a cause for concern.

I hope that soon the whole world would be able to enjoy a toast altogether!