• The Cabinet

The Japanese sake bottles winning our approval

With the Olympics due to open in Tokyo soon, our attention turns eastwards to the Japanese liquor gaining popularity in bars and restaurants around the world. Japanese sake packaging is often a feast for the eyes. Here a few examples of some stand out packs that turned our heads:

Hitoto Kito Hitotoki Sake:

The ancient tradition of brewing sake in wooden barrels is disappearing in Japan and, determined to keep it going, Imayo Tsukasa Sake Brewery commissioned craftsmen to build a pair of new 4,000-litre-class wooden barrels with employees at the brewery taking an active part in the production. The resulting sake is named “Hitoto Kito Hitotoki” —Japanese words meaning “human, wood and moment.”

For the label design, Bullet Inc traced a part of the grain pattern from the cedar wood barrel. The label substrate is a special paper called Pachica, which melts and turns translucent when heated in the de-bossing process. The result is intriguing, yet beautifully pared back. A tactile finish with glints of light shimmering through.

Design by Bullet Inc

Souryu Sake:

Honouring the part played by water in sake production, three different labels have been designed in calligraphic style to express the flow of water combined with ‘wabi-sabi’ – the Japanese aesthetic of quite simplicity and subdued refinement. The resulting design presents traditional craftsmanship through a contemporary lens.

Design by Cosmos Inc

Kanpai London

When sake meets London craft beer. Peckham sake brewery, Kanpai, uses the strapline, ‘brewed like beer, enjoyed like wine’ to introduce sake to a wider UK audience. We love the bold irreverent design that pays tribute to classic Japanese motifs with a twist.

Soto Super Premium Junmai Daiginjo Sake

“An exquisite sake” for an American audience, the branding of SŌTŌ is as clean and minimal as the sake it holds. The devil is in the detail: the ritual of removing the denim square that covers the cap, the hole in the label that illustrates the meaning of the name (SŌTŌ means ‘outside’) allowing the outside to look inside the bottle, the Ultra Violet coated premium Japanese glass.

By Joe Doucet

Mt. Ishizuchi

Printed on a fragile folded paper label, this delicate design represents the sacred Mount Ishizuchi. The printing on the back is visible through the folded paper, almost as if it’s being viewed through mist wrapping around the peak of the mountain.

By Grand Deluxe