How can a sake brewer thrive among harsh competition and a lack of young employees?
Hayashi Honten, founded in Gifu Prefecture in October 1920, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020. Led by the fifth-generation head of the company, President Rieko Hayashi, and with a staff of 11 employees, the company has been brewing its signature brand, “Hyakujuro,” and other next-generation additive-free sake with a commitment to excellence.
However, one of the challenges faced by the sake companies is that it is an industry in decline and the brewers involved in sake brewing are getting older. Combined with a declining population, there are few young people to take on the role of sake brewers. In addition, young people tend not to drink sake, perhaps because it has a slightly old-fashioned image to it.
Furthermore, it is said that there are more than 1400 sake breweries in Japan, and several brands are developed by the same brewery. If we look at the entire alcohol brewing industry, including beer and wine, there are even more companies and brands. With so much competition, Hayashi Honten felt the need to become a “brewery of choice,” but it faced a challenge in formulating a strategy to do so.
Redefining the vision and creating the language and tools to become the "brewery of choice"
The purpose of this project was to redefine Hayashi Honten’s raison d’être and the value it provides to society, and output words and tools that would serve as the company’s vision. By doing so, we aimed to increase and unify awareness within the company, enhance Hayashi Honten’s appeal to those outside, and build further affection and connection towards the brand..
Communication beyond words: "A Drinkable Brand Brochure"
We helped define and align the company’s values, outlined a vision plan that verbalized its goals, and developed an innovative “Drinkable Brand Brochure” that will convey the appeal of Hayashi Honten and its products to buyers all over the world. Thus, the brochure will become an effective communication tool that presents the company’s vision together with five pouch-type sake samples.
The stylish aluminum pouches not only have a modern touch, but are also easier to deliver than glass bottles. This allows more people to discover Hayashi Honten’s sake at a lower cost.
Loftwork was responible for the project’s direction from its initial design to its subsequent progression. In addition, we collaborated with Akaoni Inc. (further referred to as “Akaoni”), which has extensive experience in design development for small and medium-sized companies.
Involving the entire company to redefine its vision
Design management emphasizes the importance of managers working together with designers in order to refine and materialize their vision. Based on this, we designed a process tailored to Hayashi Honten where the entire staff, not just President Hayashi, participated to renew the company’s vision.
Through active participation, employees and managers were able to verbalize and share the vision they wanted to achieve, and see first-hand how it was further brushed up by the designers. The result was a set of values each staff member personally cared about.
Vision (English translation):
Established a hundred years ago, we make sake with the beautiful water, rice, and yeast nurtured by the Japanese Alps, using the brewing techniques we have developed over the years. Let us create something using Gifu’s ingredients that will be recognised around the world. Let us make natural, genuine, honest products that borrow only from the power of microorganisms. Let us make what we love with all our heart. Let us create a variety of tastes. Let us make things that bring us health and beauty. Let us make things that make the world a positive place. Let us create a picture where people gather, mingle, and share joy under cherry blossoms in full bloom. Let us create a bond between communities. Let us create excitement and surprise. Let us create lots and lots of smiles. Let us create a form of sake brewing that only we, Hayashi Honten, can do. For the next hundred years. Always.
Interested in the "Drinkable Brand Brochure"? Contact Hayashi Honten!
If you would like to request Hayashi Honten’s sake or the “Drinkable Brand Brochure,” please contact them through the company’s website.
Contact Hayashi Honten: http://www.eiichi.co.jp/en/contact/
- Client: Hayashi Honten
- Implementation Period: March 2021 – March 2022
- Project Manager: Rin Togo (Loftwork Inc.)
- Producer: Miyuki Ida (Loftwork Inc.)
- Art Director, Designer: Motoki Koitabashi (Akaoni Inc.)
- Copywriter: Mikio Soramame (Akaoni Inc.)
- Project Scope
- Renewing the vision statement (Japanese and English version)
- Creating the “Drinkable Brand Brochure”
- Prototype user testing
- Package design
What can we do for you? Let us help with your service development and branding
As with the Hayashi Honten project, FabCafe’s global network and Loftwork’s team support various branding projects. Please feel free to contact us if…
- You are considering promotional strategies aimed at the Japanese, Chinese or Western markets
- You are considering research/prototyping/testing of opportunity areas in multiple locations around the world
- You want to design bottom-up vision renewal and branding within your company
For inquiries to Loftwork, contact us here >>