We didn’t think it was possible, but contemporary artist Takashi Murakami has become even cooler with his newest project: sake.
The dude is already internationally renowned for his paintings, sculptures, fashion, merchandise, and animation, but he somehow still remains passionate about making new stuff. And since his new project has to do with alcohol, we are naturally quite excited.
In 2013, Murakami opened up his Bar Zingaro, a bar centered on coffee, cocktails, and art. This was his first venture into the food and beverage world, but the bar was still an artistic venue, as it served as a gallery space. His newest sake project is similar; it isn’t only about the fermented rice liquid inside the bottle, but also the art on the outside of the bottle.
Essentially, Murakami is fusing the two art forms of sake distilling and visual arts. Since Murukami isn’t a sake distiller himself, he’s teaming up with Next5, an Akita prefecture-based collective of sake brewers who are all part the same lineage of Japanese sake-brewing families.
Next5 is not an average sake distillery collective by any means. In fact, Murakami chose to collaborate with it because he believes it is the most innovative and unique distillery in the land. It uses ancient methods of sake brewing that date back to the early Edo period (circa 1600-1850).
For the collaboration, the Next5 team created a junmai daiginjo sake and Murakami has created beautiful bottles covered with his well-known flowers. Surprisingly, the bottles are pretty affordable; each will be sold for roughly $34, a bargain when you think about what some people are willing to pay for contemporary art (with absolutely no booze inside). Of course, there will also be a more exclusive batch, made up of only 150 bottles. Expect to see those on the auction market soon.