Steve Young, sales director at Asahi UK talks to SLTN
Q: What brand do you work for?
A: At Asahi UK we pride ourselves on our world-leading, super premium portfolio with our flagship beer Asahi Super Dry continuing to surge in popularity across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Last year, Asahi Super Dry remained on the list of top trending brands in the UK for the tenth year running.
Q: Where do you work?
A: Whilst our UK head office is based in Surrey, the teams work across the country and head to where our customers need us to be.
Q: How long have you worked on the brand and how did you start?
A: I have been with Asahi UK since its inception in October 2016 and have worked on Asahi Super Dry since then.
Q: Describe the production process.
A: We take a bespoke approach to all of our products. For instance, with Asahi Super Dry we use an authentic Japanese recipe in order for the beer to achieve its signature dry, crisp taste and quick, clean finish. The carefully selected yeast and malted barley strains used during the brewing process must be handled with the utmost precision and at our factory in Padua, Italy, our team continue to work closely with colleagues in Japan to continually invest in new highly innovative technologies to further enhance this process and prevent oxidisation.
Q: What’s a typical working day like?
A: As sales director, I am responsible for managing both the on and off-trade teams to ensure that our customers have everything they need. From overseeing existing customers to securing new listings, I ensure that these key groups are happy and up to speed with all of the Asahi brands they stock.
Q: Please provide brief tasting notes for your products.
A: Brewed to an authentic Japanese recipe and with a dry, crisp taste and quick, clean finish, Asahi Super Dry prides itself on its distinctive ‘karakuchi’ (dry) flavour.
Q: What would you say sets your product apart?
A: As the UK’s number one Japanese beer, and with our truly global range of brands available across a wide variety of formats at Asahi UK, we believe we have something to offer every consumer for every occasion. As consumers continue to seek out premium products with strong heritage credentials, we are proud to be industry leaders in the premium and super-premium space and our brands are perfectly positioned to capitalise on these growing demands.
Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your brand?
A: Since launching in 1987, Asahi Super Dry has been purposefully brewed to naturally contain more CO2 than other lagers which has enhanced its dry, crisp taste that has earned it an excellent reputation across the world. ‘Karakuchi’ means dry in Japanese and it’s this word that best describes this unique characteristic that is at the heart of the Asahi Super Dry recipe. To maintain the karakuchi taste profile and seal in CO2, bartenders should stick to the two-part karakuchi serve method when pouring Asahi Super Dry and always add a dense foam head from the specially designed twin-spout Asahi Super Dry tap. When poured correctly, the wet foam creates a tension that helps to release the authentic, refreshing flavour of Asahi Super Dry as drinkers sip the beer.
Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?
A: Getting to work with great people (customers and colleagues alike), to build fabulous brands and an ever-strengthening trade.
Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your brand?
A: When served at the right temperature using the perfect twopart pour technique, Asahi Super Dry is hard to beat, but as with most great drink experiences, the best drinks are those with great company.
Q: What’s your career highlight so far?
A: I’m really proud of the job we have done in repositioning Asahi Super Dry in the UK. From taking an established brand and contributing to its reinvention and relaunch, to then seeing how it has flourished in the market and won new consumers is something that I am really proud to be associated with.
Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why?
A: Alastair Hook, founder of the Meantime Brewery. Alastair has had a huge impact on the craft beer scene in London and invested so much of himself into making a better version of beer than what was on offer when he set up his brewery 20 years ago. He’s a true pioneer and the most passionate advocate for better quality beer.
Q: How do you relax outside of work?
A: Outside of work, it’s all about family for me and I like to relax by spending time with my wife and two boys.
Q: If you could invite anyone for a drink who would you ask, where would you go and what would you drink?
A: I’d invite Ricky Gervais for a couple of pints of Meantime London Pale Ale at the Tap Room in the Meantime Brewery. japanese brands.