A New Era for the Sake Industry in Japan and Beyond

Feb 7, 2023

Feb 7, 2023

6:00 pm To 7:15 pm

665 West 130th Street, New York, NY 10027



Event Description

A New Era for the Sake Industry in Japan and Beyond: The Case of Award-Winning Dassai and Asahi Shuzo

A New Era for the Sake Industry in Japan and Beyond: The Case of Award-Winning Dassai and Asahi Shuzo

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 | 6:00 – 7:15 PM (Reception to follow)

Room 820, Kravis Hall, Columbia Business School (Map)

(665 West 130th Street, New York, NY 10027)


Hiroshi Sakurai


Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd.


David E. Weinstein

Director, CJEB; Carl S. Shoup Professor of the Japanese Economy, Columbia University

Topics to be covered:

  • The difficulties of continuing a family business
  • How to overcome geographic challenges
  • Shifting from a red ocean market to a blue ocean market
  • Coexisting with farmers and others (to create profit together)
  • The pursuit of high-quality products
  • The necessity and importance of Japanese time-honored, artisanal, and meticulous processes
  • Dassai in NY and DASSAI BLUE

About the Speaker:

Hiroshi Sakurai is Chairman of Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd. He was born in 1950 in Shuto-cho (Currently Iwakuni city), Yamaguchi Prefecture. After graduating from Matsuyama University of Commerce (Currently Matsuyama University) in 1973 and training at Nishinomiya Shuzo Co., Ltd. (Currently Nihonsakari Co., Ltd.), he joined his family’s company Asahi Shuzo in 1976 but left after a conflict with his father. In 1984, Mr. Sakurai returned to the family business after his father’s sudden passing and rebuilt the company by pivoting to focus on the development of Junmai Daiginjo “Dassai.” He has been in his current position since 2016. Mr. Sakurai continues to lead the company’s growth by breaking with industry norms through innovative ideas such as four-season brewing by regular employees rather than traditional sake brewers as he persists in his pursuit to produce tasty sake. In April 2018, he opened a joint store with Joël Robuchon in Paris, and a brewery in Hyde Park, New York is under construction (scheduled for completion in Spring 2023). Mr. Sakurai is an internationally recognized business leader, having won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Japan award in 2021.

Admission and Contact:

You must register to attend this in-person-only event.

If you have questions about the event, please contact us at cjeb@gsb.columbia.edu.

Special Notes:

● Advance registration is required to attend this event.

● This in-person-only event is open to the public and will not be live streamed. Please note registration does not guarantee a seat.

● Please be advised that this event may be photographed, so your image may appear on our website or in CJEB materials later. If this is an issue, please let us know.

● Please note that due to current University guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all visitors must have their primary series of COVID-19 vaccination and be prepared to show proof if asked.

For more information about other CJEB events, visit our website or contact cjeb@gsb.columbia.edu.


Center on Japanese Economy and Business


About the Organizers

Established at Columbia Business School in 1986 under the direction of its founder, Professor Hugh Patrick, and led currently by its director, Professor David Weinstein, the Center on Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB) promotes knowledge and understanding of Japanese business and economics in an international context. CJEB is a research organization widely recognized for its vigorous research activities, international symposia, conferences, and lectures, held in New York City and Tokyo, which provide prominent speakers from the public and private sectors a forum for collaboration and reflection on Japan, the United States, and the global economy.

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