Unkai Distillery, pioneer of honkaku soba (buckwheat) shochu, are marching on with their drive to get drinkers in Japan to mix their own cocktails using Unkai Soba Shochu and soda water.
Last year we had small plastic boxes pushed into our hands near Tokyo’s Shimbashi Station. Inside each transparent container were one 160 ml can of Canada Dry Club Soda and a squat 100 ml PET bottle of Unkai Soba.
The small folded card featuring actor Yo Yoshida has instructions for mixing this simple cocktail calling for a 1:1 shochu to soda mix–that’s 5:5 for those of you who are familiar with mixing in Japan. At that ratio, using a Collins glass, there might just be enough soba shochu provided for two drinks with some soda to spare.
The most recent issue of Shuhan News brings us a slightly updated version of the campaign minus the ampersand
and asking something similar to “Why not try it?” Also included in the ad is a signature Unkai Collins glass with green orbs which might remind one of fields of buckwheat or the bubbles in the drink.
Unkai’s “Soba Soda” push coincides with sustained growth in the chuhai and wider RTD market. 2015 saw an increase of 9% in the canned cocktail segment, and Unkai is likely attempting to get in on the action with their current marketing efforts.