May 2, 2016
When we first launched Umami Mart in 2007, we were a wee food and drink blog. I informed NYers about secret ramen spots, Yoko mused about weird foods in Japan, Anders updated us about the latest on controversial food packaging, Erin uploaded stunning food photos, Ryohei obsessively battled himself in the kitchen and provided extensive play-by-play recipes, and Payman got so into cocktail-making and blogging about it, that he quit his day job as a lawyer to become a posh, career bartender. We were a tight, renegade circle of cranky gourmants, hoping that our irreverent attitudes would ring true in a blogosphere full of foodies.
Our blog lived on (and still does) and by 2010, Yoko and I found ourselves in the same city once again. We were 30 and didn’t have any more time to waste. Yoko had quit her well-paid advertising job in Tokyo on the premise that she would be “doing something more with Umami Mart.” A promise had been made to her boss, and she would feel compelled to keep it. So, headquartered in Berkeley, we started importing barware from Japan and selling it on our blog. Would people notice? Would people buy anything? Would people understand the superiority of Japan-made bartools?
We started off with the Diamond Cut mixing glass, a bar spoon, the gold Cobbler shaker, and a jigger. All imported from Japan. By 2012, bartenders and cocktail connoisseurs from all over the world were buying these bar tools from us and we couldn’t keep up. The time had come to open a showroom, and we did so in downtown Oakland.
I’m not going to say anything obtuse like, “the rest is history,” but I will say that we’re still open in 2016 and growing. We’re proud of that. And now, we’re officially launching our very own collaboration with Yukiwa barware and a line of glassware! Gosh, we’ve come so far. From bloggers to retailers!
Barware from Japan is the essence of Umami Mart; it is our main business and passion, and we are humbled to have a community of loyal customers and followers throughout the United States. To be able to have our own line of branded tools is a big step for us and we must thank you all for your continued support over the years. We promise you that these are the highest quality bar tools you can find in the entire world! I would not say this if I did not believe this to be true. You probably agree with me anyway.
Our relationship with Yukiwa runs six years strong. Yoko and I look forward to visiting the factory every year in Niigata, Japan — they think we are slightly insane, ambitious lady bosses — and are fortunate to have their friendship and support. We are proud of our partnership with Yukiwa and do believe that this is one of the greatest companies for stainless steel wares in the world.
As for the glassware, it was a no-brainer for us to parter with Toyo-Sasaki Glass Company for our Diamond Cut rocks glasses. We also visit them annually in Tokyo, and are honored to have a long-standing relationship with them as well.
The Seamless mixing glasses are made in a tiny factory in Tokyo. Each glass is meticulously hand-blown so you’ll notice the quality right away. They’ll last forever if you take care of them.
Yes, Umami Mart is growing. So fast, it seems. All of our Umami Mart tools have gone through extensive testing and we hope you agree that they are great tools. And if you ever have any questions about our products, Yoko and I are usually in the shop or will answer the phone (510-250-9559) or will email you back (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are personally committed to bringing you the most functional and high quality cocktail tools in the world. That’s our promise!