If you grew up in the states, your first experience with sake might have come at a Japanese restaurant or in the darkened confines of a private karaoke room, likely in the form of a very full shot glass of the stuff getting dropped into a watered-down beer. But for the last few decades, plenty of folks have tried their hand at brewing the stuff right here in America, and today, there are more than 20 sake breweries in operation.
California's SoGood Sake is one such brewery, and they want to introduce a whole new generation to American-made sake. To help them bring the brand to the forefront, SoGood Sake turned to Pearlfisher to develop packaging and a visual identity that would speak to the premium origins of their creation, but also to how the beverage can get incorporated with most any gathering or even paired with some of their most beloved foods.
But to do that, the agency needed to tell the story of sake. That meant starting at the heart of the drink with rice.
The rice grain features prominently on the bottle, initially as one piece that’s front and center, but also in the logomark, as the accent over the “e” in sake gets turned into one. What’s more, that grain breaks into golden fields of rice with a sun majestically overseeing it all—the setting sun also represents the pearl, that whole kernel of rice that gets polished into a fine, rounded thing of beauty. The bottle celebrates the soil the rice comes from in California’s Sacramento Valley while also honoring the traditions and craft of one of Japan’s finest exports.
But Pearlfisher also decouples sake from its usual sushi pairing—obviously a perfect combo, but it doesn’t have to get relegated to the handful of times you go out for great sushi. Here, brand assets merge with crack food photography, the result being In-N-Out Feasts, pizza parties, and taco Tuesdays.
In the end, it’s about discovery, and SoGood’s branding helps elevate the drink into an absolute must-try for American audiences. Just don’t go dropping this in a pint of Sapporo, OK?