Return to Outside Lands with SakeOne

#sfoutsidelands #ol2014 #drinkcoldsake #sakebetweensets

For the second consecutive year, I had the pleasure of overseeing social engagement for SakeOne, producer of Oregon craft sake and importer of fine Japanese sake, at San Francisco’s Outside Lands (OSL) festival. Easily one of the most sophisticated and well-oiled festival machines, OSL brought crowds by the tens of thousands and heralded a lot of great exposure, not only for SakeOne, but for all the brands participating and holding court over the #WineLands tent.

As usual, @KarlTheFog tried his best to rain on #RangerDave’s parade, however the Outside Lands euphoria prevailed and the sun delivered a memorable performance, highlighting a foodie and libation paradise, backed by some serious musical acts (like Tom petty and The Killers) making @sfoutsidelands 2014 a truly memorable experience.

Most exciting, was the debut of a new premium-canned junmai sake, imported by SakeOne, called KIBO which translates to hope in Japanese. To show support for the brewery, which was devastated by the tsunami of March 2011, we offered to stamp people for “hope,” as a way of getting to know the brand and helping spread the word. The stamp featured the “Miracle Pine Tree,” the symbol of Rikuzentakata City, home of KIBO Sake. Of 70,000 pine trees in the coastal region, it is the only tree that survived the tsunami.   

One of the big draws to OSL is the incredible food selection—jammed into every corner, open field, hidden forest pathway, are food trucks, food booths and food lands—and a feast for the senses was within eyesight of the Wine Lands tent. I refuse to admit just how much/how many foods I tried (because I was seeking out professional sake and food pairings, of course!) but this photo highlighted some of the best options for pairing with the KIBO canned sake. 

The Momokawa Taiko drum (serving up SakeOne’s Momokawa Organic sake and drumming depot main attraction) intrigued and delighted guests in the Wine Lands tent (many of them first-time tasters of premium cold sake). Education was definitely the name of the game and we encouraged everyone to #drinkcoldsake with some of these serious food-truck pairings.

The Del Popolo mobile wood-fired pizza truck was a sight akin to Mecca. Their flash-fired pizza, which comes out in something like 30-60 seconds, is light and airy with a succulently sweet red sauce that combines with the sizzling fresh mozz and basil for a bite of pizza that is otherworldly. Washed down with the KIBO—and total euphoria sets in.


As things began to heat up, and the Wine Lands tent was reaching capacity, you could literally “feel the love” in the room. #serioussake with a #senseofhumor.

As a way of engaging with our neighbors, we came up with a fun little competition with Long Meadow Ranch (LMR). The concept: “Sake vs. Sauvignon Blanc” was devised and we wrangled three San Francisco originals to test their skills and see if they could discern the difference between wine and sake.

By appearance, it’s nearly impossible to decipher one from the other. On the nose, the aromatics are potentially confusing as well, given the impending pressures of a “blind tasting” experience. But the palate is fairly unmistakable and these three cats rose to the challenge and picked out the Momokawa Sake over the LMR sauv blanc. A good time was had by all and we captured the experience on video.

We asked Hipster Ryan (@rshoffner) Hot Chic Claire (@claireewalsh) and Hulagirl Elise (@elisemcroberts) to partake and they were a great bunch of sports, old sport. Ahem. 

A little smattering montage of our neighbors, with Mr. Riesling himself (Paul Grieco of Terroir Bar and Hearth in NYC front and center) pouring adjacent to our booth and labeling anyone and everyone with “Riesling” tats. 

Star sommelier John Vuong paid a visit to the SakeOne booth to chat it up with Steve Vuylsteke and SakeOne’s marketing agency Charles Communications Associates’ honcho Kimberly Charles – he is credited as the “incubator” of SakeOne’s involvement with OSL, and for that he was deserving of a major kanpai!


While SakeOne’s Momokawa, G Joy and KIBO set the stage for pours, the bands kept the festival rocking all day and night and at one point, Kimberly and Steve spent some time in the press tent overlooking the main stage, pouring through can after can of KIBO for interested interviewers. A short video can be viewed here.

As far as festivals go, OSL provides one of the best opportunities for a brand to gain incredible exposure while showing its true colors—because it’s all about having fun and getting creative. Whenever people want to re-live the 2014 OSL weekend, they’ll go back and peruse the hashtags, photos and posts via their social networks and SakeOne will represent with a fierce, fun, dialed-in presence—and in a way, having put such a mark on the digital history of OSL, a metaphorical “pine tree” has been planted, with a clear, sound and distinct message of hope, inspiration and call to have fun, to be inventive and to #drinkcoldsake while doing so.

All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting