Enjoying a drink with friends is an integral part of many people’s lives. And Ah Sing, the owner of the Black Star Liquor Co., is no exception. He loves sharing the stories behind the sakes he sourced to help his customers choose ones they will love and enjoy.
In the past, when Ah Sing visited Japan, he always checked out different izakaya to learn the stories behind the sakes they served. “When I first opened my little place”, he says, “there was a new round of COVID prevention measures in place, so I couldn’t visit Japan in person at that time. I had to find sake breweries through social media and get them to send samples to Hong Kong. I once tried over 40 sakes within a week!”
The more sakes he sampled, the more Ah Sing discovered about sake production. In fact, there are many different production processes, all of which are complex and interesting. The tastes of the different sakes vary widely and Ah Sing broadened his overall knowledge of sake enormously.
From the discovery of a new brand to taste testing, Ah Sing does it all himself, so naturally his customers trust him. “Some customers only pick big, well-known sake brands,” he says, “But I want to help them break the stereotypes so I introduce them to lesser-known brands and encourage them to try. Often they are pleasantly surprised.”
When Ah Sing first opened his business, his ground floor shop in Lei Shun Court had no internet connection. So customers were “forced” to chat with him rather than just come in and buy. “My regulars asked me why I didn’t open an online store. And I said it was because I wanted to meet my customers in person! I felt that only through dialogues could I get to know their personalities and do a much better job of introducing a sake that would suit them. So it’s not just a buy-and-sell transaction.”
Whether buying, selling, or even making sake, Ah Sing believed that the process is more important than the outcome. He wants his customers to enjoy tasting new sakes and join in “deep” conversations with him every time they visit.
Black Star Liquor Co.
📍Address: G/F, 11A Haven Street, Causeway Bay