Friday, August 26, 2011

Itami Airport wine and sake shops

Returning from a recent trip to Sydney, Australia, I passed through Itami Airport in Osaka. The airport has scores of attractive shops, but two booze shops especially caught my eye for their thoughtful and intense presentation.

The sake shop looks almost like a museum or art gallery with its bottles presented as precious artefacts.

However, the shop has a very practical aspect for 100 yen, a vending machine will serve you a shot of one of about 40 different sakes from the Kansai region, which you can taste on the spot. That's the wall-sized machine on the left in the photo below.

The shop features many traditional elements such as the country farmhouse 'stairs n' storage' behind the counter, a serving lady in Japanese clothes, and the sake brewery's evergreen bush symbol hanging in the entrance.

The colourful menu board outside and the very well-stocked open fridge are more modern touches.

After hovering about pondering the joys of sake, I was then induced to think about wine, by Messrs. Gracias. Quite a broad swathe of travellers were likewise engaged.
At the back of the shop is a little counter serving a selection of wines and snacks. Two businessmen were twirling and sniffing at large glasses of red.

The wines come with a personal introduction and a photo of the vintner. This doesn't apply to all of them, but the shopkeeper has obviously made considerable effort to achieve reasonable coverage in this regard.

In some cases, the wine is even wired this wine comes with dedicated QR-type code for wines. Download the app and point your smartphone at the picture of the grapes, and you could read about the wine on your phone.

The story-telling and social integration goes even further. The shopkeeper has carefully prepared a display that links the wine with a successful and trendy manga for adults. This creates a very engaging appeal.