Over Labor Day weekend, we popped up in the very hot and sunny city of Los Angeles, inside the Ace Hotel. Located downtown, it was a four day extravaganza of Umami Mart wares and events. We could not have had more fun meeting our customers, followers, and making new friends in LA!
After Yoko and I drove six hours from Oakland with a car full of Japanese barware, glassware, and ceramics, we set up camp on the second floor in the lovely Walker Eisen Room. With windows facing Broadway, it was a bright and inviting space for all of our products.
Once we were all set up, we looked forward to a weekend full of events in the space.
Grace, who has been with us since 2016, worked one last weekend with us in LA, her new home base. We will miss her dearly.
Our Launch Party on Friday night, featured Ali, the bartender, serving Suntory Toki highballs. The ice blocks were works of art.
The party was an excellent way to kick off our popup at the Ace – people from all over the city stopped by!
LA-based artist Yoskay Yamamoto, who had designed our LA popup poster, came to hang out with us for the evening and sign posters.
For the next three days, we hosted events each day during our popup opening hours. The day after our Launch Party, we hosted a Suntory Japanese Whisky Tasting with Brand Ambassador Jonathan Armstrong. Sold out at 30 seats, it was an hour-long component tasting of Suntory's coveted whisky blends.
This seminar is extremely educational in learning how Suntory blends its whiskies. We hope to bring it to the Bay Area soon!
The following day, we hosted Making Cocktails with Miracle Mile Yuzu Bitters with our friend Louis Anderman, founder of Miracle Mile Bitters Co. We have sold Yuzu Bitters since we first opened Umami Mart in 2012 – it is one of our best sellers and we wanted to invite guests to learn how to incorporate it into various cocktails.
Louis himself tended bar for the event! He chose gin + tonics as the drink of the afternoon, as it was scorching hot out, and he topped it off with his Yuzu Bitters. Suntory Roku was the gin of choice here.
On our last day, Labor Day, we hosted a Sake Gumi Tasting – Umami Mart Sake Director Yoko led guests through a tasting of several sakes to promote Sake Gumi, our monthly sake subscription service. We ship throughout California and want more Angelenos to join!
Big thank you to everyone who came out from all over Southern California to see us and shop at our popup! It meant a lot to us and we were so happy to meet all of you!
Special thanks to Stryker Matthews, Nick, Madeline and team at the Ace; Jonathan Armstrong of Suntory, Akane Kinjo of LA Mutual Trading, Yoskay Yamamoto, and Louis Anderman. You all made our LA experience very special.
Yoko and I hope to be back in LA in 2020. Stay tuned!