Jun 25, 2023

Origami Sake: Locally produced beverage extends reach in Arkansas

Origami Sake launched its brand throughout the state about three weeks ago, now offering premium sake in stores and restaurants across the state.

The sake is now available in more than 90 locations in Arkansas, including popular spots in Hot Springs such as Deluca's Pizza, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, the VAULT and the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa.

"So far, it's been fantastic," said Brett Bassett, Origami Sake's sales manager.

"We went live with our product about three weeks ago, and we've already sold out our first allocations. We've only gone through central Arkansas at this point.

"We've got a handful of spots in the northwest and different corners of the state, but central Arkansas has truly been able to sustain everything that we've been able to produce so far. It's truly been overwhelming in the best of ways," he said.

While the sake company has only distributed to the natural state so far, the company does hope to reach regional distribution to the surrounding states, as well as national and international markets as a future goal. As an ultimate goal, Origami Sake hopes to take over 1% of the wine market with sake.

"If we get one out of every 100 wine buyers to grab a bottle of sake instead of a bottle of wine, then we're doing our job and ultimately, turning Arkansas into the Napa Valley of sake," Bassett said.

Origami Sake also has a goal of expanding the drink's typical market of Asian cuisine, he said.

"Ultimately, we're an Arkansas-made product," he said.

"We're using Arkansas rice and Hot Springs water.

"The feedback from everybody is that they're super intrigued to try something new. And Arkansas is always gonna support Arkansas. It just turns out that we're making some of the best sake in the country courtesy of our caliber of rice and water and our team. So, the reception has been amazing, and it's just gonna take that slow education of getting it in front of people and them understanding that they don't just have to drink it with sushi. I mean, it's great with barbecue, with smoked salmon, Gouda, all that kinda stuff."

For now, though, the company plans to stay in Arkansas for as long as needed to reach the entire state, while performing some "interesting" projects along the way, Bassett said.

"As long as we can keep saturating (the) Arkansas market, in terms of Arkansas supporting us, we'll stay in Arkansas as long as we need to," Bassett said. "I would prefer to stay in Arkansas as long as we can, get it to every corner of the state and get it as saturated as we can. We'll be regional when the time is needed.

​​"The best part about brewing sake, in my opinion, is that it only takes a month. So, we're able to do some really interesting projects and produce some really neat things. ... Isbell farms, who we get our rice from, we just completed a batch of Yamada Nishiki, which is the king of sake rice. They polished it down to 40%, which means 60% of that rice is polished off. We got to try it this past weekend. It's truly one of my favorite sakes I've ever had."

Print Headline: Origami Sake: Locally produced beverage extends reach in Arkansas

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