Episode 4

Published on:

9th May 2022

Cracking the can in Japan: Japanese beverage market entry with Native Sparkling’s Matt and Guy Hobson

Native Sparkling is making a splash in Japan and we cannot wait to introduce you to two of the team behind it, Matt and Guy Hobson. We’ve been following their journey of getting business entry visas, and how they have carried themselves as NZ brand ambassadors during their short time in Japan. We wanted to bring their voice to the show while their memories are still fresh of what it’s been like to embark on their first sales tour of Japan. A must listen for anyone who is considering doing the same soon!

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In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How Native in incorporating conservation of New Zealand native bird species with enjoying an alcoholic beverage that is also a healthier alternative
  • How they got their foot in the door in Japan
  • Guy and Matt’s top tips for making the most of a sales trip to Japan
  • The differences between Japan and New Zealand business card etiquette
  • Their ideas for next steps in the beverage industry in Japan and New Zealand

About Native Sparkling

2012 saw two friends, Matt & Luke, dreaming up an alcoholic beverage focused more on how you feel the next day, than how quickly you felt the alcohol. Like all good ideas formed over a beverage with a mate, it was parked for six years…

In 2018, Matt and Luke were once again sharing ideas, with Matt’s brother Guy included. With the rise of hard seltzers in the United States that focused on a ‘better alcohol option’ the old recipe was dusted off and put to the test on family and friends…they were onto something! The trio set about crafting a beverage they would be proud to share. This meant it had to be purposeful, sustainable and delicious. After tasting hundreds of fruit profiles (including the now famous Lemon & Yuzu) and blending this with a neutral alcohol base, Aotearoa’s first hard sparkling was born.

Just as Native's mascot, the pīwakawaka (fantail), flutters about keeping a close eye on things, younger sister Brooke did not want to miss out and tasked herself with spreading the message across the country – joining the close-knit team.

Connect with Native Sparkling

Website: www.nativesparkling.nz 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nativehardsparkling/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nativesparkling/ 


‘jandals10’ discount online store for Kiwis listening in from NZ - www.nativesparkling.nz (no time limit)

Find My NZ: https://www.facebook.com/findmynz 

Connect with Jayne and Catherine

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jandals-in-japan-podcast/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jandalsinjapan/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jandalsinjapan 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwdbd0QSHSLlOSPcpceHOcA 

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About the Podcast

Jandals in Japan
Bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
The best show about New Zealanders doing business in Japan, bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
How do you build a brand in Japan and nurture a loyal customer base?
What do you need to have in your tool belt if you are thinking of coming to Japan to launch a business here?
Japan is often considered to be in the "too hard" basket but we are here to open up the black box of doing business in Japan.
We will share stories from successful Kiwis selling their products and services here in Japan.
They'll tell you their tips for success and pitfalls to avoid.
They'll share their challenges and what they did to overcome them.
They will tell you things you can't find in textbooks or on the internet.
We will also be sharing the latest intel and insights on Japan from our on-the-ground presence
And you'll hear some super business culture and other tips from us sprinkled throughout.
Grab a glass of sake and let's get into it.
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About your hosts

Jayne Nakata

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Jayne Nakata is a Southland girl who arrived in Japan in 2002, planning to stay just two years. 20 years later she is still living in Fukushima Prefecture with her Japanese husband and two children. When the triple disaster hit in 2011, Jayne made the commitment to stay in Fukushima and contribute to rebuilding the area. She is the host of the award winning podcast Transformations with Jayne, which is a favourite with international women living in Japan. She is also the double award winning podcast producer and manager for PodLaunch with Jayne.

Catherine O’Connell

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Born and bred in Christchurch, Catherine O'Connell landed in Japan in 2002, on a one year contract, and 20 years later she's planted her feet firmly in Japan. She built a wealth of business and cultural experience working at the coal face of brand-name Japanese corporates as in house legal counsel. Catherine took a leap of faith down the entrepreneurial route launching her own multi award-winning boutique law firm in Tokyo in 2018, being the first Kiwi and first foreign female to do so. She is Vice Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and helps businesses thrive in the Japan market delivering business insights meshed with legal instincts. Catherine is also host of the award-winning Lawyer on Air Podcast.