The Japanese philosophy of Kodawari is all about producing things with great care, ingenuity, and the best ingredients.
For the makers of Lemon-Dou®, one of Japan’s favorite chu-hi (shochu highball), this meticulous process of beverage crafting starts with a whole lemon--crushed, blended into a puree, and infused with a distilled spirit. Bubbles are added to complete this full-bodied, ‘wickedly good’ drink that serves ABV 3%, 5% and up to 9%.
Every step of the process is handled with painstaking detail, from the creation of the lemon base and dilution of the sugarcane-based spirit to infusion and bottling. The underpinning philosophy for a process like this is called kodawari--and while there is no English translation for it, every Japanese artisan would know by heart that it is a relentless and life-long pursuit of precision, quality, attention to detail, and craftsmanship.
Lemon-Dou® was first introduced in Japan in 2018 and then in the Philippines in Q4 of 2021 as an addition to Coca-Cola Philippines’ well-loved portfolio of sparkling beverages, juices, teas, and bottled water.
“Lemon-Dou® may have caught the Philippines by surprise. For the first time in Coca-Cola Philippines’ 110-year history, we introduced something alcoholic. Our commitment is to constantly serve products that delight and options that match an ever-changing consumer taste. The local market’s positive response to Lemon-Dou® affirms that Filipinos recognize our passion for beverage craftsmanship,’’ says Tony del Rosario, President of Coca-Cola Philippines.
A beverage made by and loved by craftsmen
During the holidays, Filipinos at home first got a taste of the unique lemon sour that is usually served in drinking establishments, and it caught the attention of local crafters like Chef JP Anglo and Myrtle Sarrosa.
‘Chef Jayps’ is a champion for Philippine cuisine, a camp cook, a foodie, an adventurous restaurateur who set up Sarsa Kitchen, and who is now attempting to bring elevated Filipino food to Dubai.
“I love laborious roles in the kitchen because they made me realize, very early in my career, that repetition and a thorough immersion in a process can only make you a better cook,’’ says Chef JP.
He adds, ‘’The idea applies to both food and beverage crafting. As a chef, I need to know how to source quality ingredients. I need to know taste profiles and the techniques necessary to draw out flavors. In the course of running a restaurant, I may need to recreate a dish more than a hundred times in a month. Over and over, I would have to execute a dish with the same precision and attention to detail. I think the same is true for a Japanese chu-hi like Lemon-Dou® whose crafters are just as fanatical about quality as I am.’’
Myrtle Sarrosa, who has been a long-time fan of Japanese culture, began her crafter’s journey as a cosplayer and videogame content creator. No stranger to the amount of detail necessary to execute a perfect cosplay, Myrtle enjoys both the process of creating costumes and wearing them.
“Going to comic book conventions in full gear to interact with the fan communities is the final stage of a very long process. The planning stage is the longest--deciding on what character to portray and then collecting references and interpretations. This is followed by material prep work and finally, costume assembly,” says Myrtle. “You need to carry enough creativity and passion to craft costumes year in and year out. It is the same if you are a pastry chef or a beverage maker.”
‘’I think Lemon-Dou® became Japan’s favorite in such a short time because people understood the craftsmanship necessary to make a drink like it,’’ she concludes.
Consumers of age can now enjoy Lemon-Dou®, which is available in major supermarkets and retailers nationwide, such as SM, Robinsons, Shopwise, Landmark, S&R, and convenience stores such as Mini Stop, Family Mart, and Lawson. Customers can also order online via Boozy.ph, Cokebeverages.ph, Shopee, and Lazada.
In line with Coca-Cola’s responsible business practices, the company adheres to a strict Global Responsible Marketing Policy to ensure that its alcohol-based products are sold responsibly and sustainably. This includes adhering to responsible consumption and promotion that does not apply to anyone under the legal drinking age of 18.