Debuting on the Global Stage
Thanks to the dedication and hard work of generations of owners, Born has moved a step further, from being served at high-profile local occasions to appearing on the international stage.
From the late Taisho to early Showa periods (roughly equivalent to the period between the two World Wars), Born received gold medals for four consecutive years at a local sake competition. When Emperor Showa ascended the throne in 1928, Born sake was served. And in 1968, it was one of the first generations of breweries in Japan to commercialise daiginjo. On the international front, the brand’s signature Wing of Japan was served at a state dinner when the president of the United States Bill Clinton visited Japan in 1996, and as the toasting sake at the Japan-hosted 2002 FIFA World Cup welcome dinner. In 2007, it became the official sake served on board government aircraft used by the Japanese prime minister and overseas government officials. More than a domestic brand, Born sake can be found in Japanese embassies worldwide and available for sale in more than 100 countries.
The 11th-generation owner, President Atsuhide Kato, has played a huge part in making Born a brand as well-known to overseas customers as it is today. When he took over the brewery from his father, he made it clear that he would position Born as “a brand that goes beyond domestic sales”. He believes that production of sake relies on well-trained technique and in-depth market understanding. And for a brewery to grow and flourish, it must possess the ability to satisfy its customers. In order to achieve these qualities, besides his role as the President, Mr. Kato became a qualified toji (master brewer) and is well-versed in the brewing craft. When he was training his son to become his heir, he asked him to start from hands-on brewing, to learn about and excel in the various positions. Over the years, Born has insisted on using traditional brewing methods in to maintain the highest quality, which is its first and foremost principle of sake brewing.
President Kato’s commitment to promoting Japanese sake on the world stage can be seen from his presence at city'super sake fairs. He often comes to Hong Kong to interact with local customers. He has also developed a cloud-based monitoring system that allows him real-time access to information on the brewing process, like temperate changes inside the koji fermentation room and the ageing container, when he is overseas. The craft of sake brewing is now highly systematic, and he can therefore ensure consistent quality through data analysis, which also helps in staff training.