Rugby-Inspired Shochu, Sake Catching On amid World Cup Excitement

Society

Osaka/Nagano, Oct. 9 (Jiji Press)--Rugby-inspired "shochu" spirits and sake rice wine are drawing popularity in Japan, the host of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as the ongoing tournament generates excitement across the country.

"Daen," a shochu named after the Japanese word meaning an oval shape, the shape of the rugby ball, is on sale by AroundSports Co., based in the western Japan city of Osaka. The planning company began to donate part of the sales about 10 years ago for the purpose of helping promote rugby in Japan.

AroundSports President Satoshi Takai, 58, started work to develop Daen when he engaged in a mission in 2002 to support Kobe Steel Ltd.'s <5406> rugby team as an employee of entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo Co.

Takai learned that many retired rugby players are too busy to teach younger players or even watch matches. After launching his own business in 2008, Takai developed the shochu jointly with a sake brewer in the southwestern city of Miyazaki.

As the concept of donating part of the sales for the development of the sport has been accepted favorably, his company is enjoying strong orders for nearly 1,000 bottles of Daen every year, with clients including retired rugby players, rugby bars and restaurants run by former rugby players.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press