Hashigo Zake's reputation is important to us and so I regularly do google searches for recent mentions of our name. On the morning of Friday August 26, 2011, I hit the jackpot. On the pages at http://forums.punkas.com/ a conversation amongst some regular and valued customers the night before led a third party (calling himself “No Way Out Records”) to post:
fuck hashingo and fuck dominic and fuck you wellington idiots, I hate that fucking bar and it's idiot (self appointed elitist) fucking owner...
check out Bruhaus and Taphaus over the next few months for some pleasant surprises!!!
First of all I was delighted that the poster used the term “elitist”. From day one we’ve aspired to be elitist – but at the same time unpretentious - about the products we serve and the way we serve them. But I don’t think elitist is a boast you can make about yourself – it has to be bestowed (or alleged) by a third party. So thanks mate.
Now I found this highly amusing and posted a screenshot on the Hashigo Zake facebook page. I was immediately contacted by one of the aforementioned regular customers and punkas posters who made two points: (1) he and a number of others on the forum were satisfied and regular customers of Hashigo Zake and (2) the poster was “Sean from beerstore”.
Everything suddenly made sense. This Sean turned out to be the same person (posting as STiG) who tried to mock our importing programme through comments on this blog back in January. (See here.)
For those who don’t know, the website called “the beer store” has been selling imported beer since before we opened. Unlike us they use what’s known as “the grey market” – they buy beer from overseas distributors rather than breweries, often against the express wishes of the breweries. The convoluted route that grey market products take to New Zealand often means that they are over-priced and in poor condition by the time they arrive.
We opened two years ago and have been sourcing our products using the most direct possible channels. As I tried to explain to Sean back in January, we use strategic alliances with importers in other countries to get introductions to the breweries we buy from. This has been an outstanding success for us.
Obviously I’m biased when I say this, but it must be galling when your business model is to do something (importing) badly and then face a competitor whose business model is to do it well. So perhaps I should be sympathetic towards the hysterical poster. And to be fair, I believe he followed his post with another showing a little regret. But the fact is that rather than accept the arrival of a competitor and adjust their business model accordingly – by, for instance, stopping the importing of brands that we import cheaper, fresher and with the approval of their producers – the beer store seem to have sought out beer from breweries that we bring in, such as Japan’s Baird and San Diego’s Coronado, presumably to spite us. As a result, and as hinted by his mention of the Tap Haus, you can go along to the Tap Haus and buy a 355ml bottle of Coronado Orange Avenue Witbier for $14 – yesterday it was on tap at Hashigo Zake for $11 per US pint.
But the point I really want to make is that as Hashigo Zake approaches its second birthday, seeing a competitor that we have little respect for vent like this is the best endorsement we could ask for.
For the record, beers that we imported from breweries such as Baird, Nøgne Ø, Rogue, Green Flash, Bear Republic, Coronado and Moylan’s are or have been at the following outlets:
- Newmarket Liquorland
- Forrest Hill Liquorland
- Victoria Park New World
- Wine Circle Kumeu
- Albert St Liquorland
- Little Beer Quarter
- The Hop Garden
- Bar Edward
- Café Polo
- Regional Wines and Spirits
- Island Bay New World