Cocktails’ are drinks based around whiskey, brandy, gin, vodka, rum, tequila and such, which also contain liqueurs, syrup, fruit juices, and other flavors, with added ice.There are many kinds of cocktails, and it is said that just the well known types number over 3,000. The main tool for making them is the cocktail shaker. You must have seen a bartender shaking a silver container at least once in a movie or in a drama. This shaking is to evenly blend the ingredients, which are sometimes difficult to mix with each other. This time, we visit Yokoyama Kogyo in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. They develop and manufacture a shaker launched as cocktail tool brand ‘BIRDY’, a necessity for making cocktails. (The current brand name ‘BIRDY. By Erik Lorincz’, from here on referred to as BIRDY).
Yokoyama Kogyo, Aichi Prefecture ｜ 2019.6.4
A visit to Yokoyama Kogyo, developers of a cocktail shaker in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture.
This time we visit ‘Yokoyama Kogyo’ in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. For over 60 years, Yokoyama Kogyo has been a long-established manufacturer of auto parts. "Why is an auto parts manufacturer making cocktail shakers?". As this is the first question pops into everyone's mind, we asked it to the BIRDY creator Tetsuya Yokoyama. “As my brother had already taken over the company, I began work at a web production company after graduating university. Then, I joined Yokoyama Kogyo when we established our first overseas factory in Thailand. I wanted to help my family, but at the same time I had some reservations about going to Thailand.” he said with a laugh. Mr. Yokoyama began to live in Thailand for more than half of every month and slowly began to change his mind. They company had absolute confidence in the technical capabilities they had cultivated throughout their history and the local staff were passionate so they learned the techniques very quickly. Mr. Yokoyama felt that in the near future they would face a ‘commoditization of Japanese monozukuri (manufacturing)’ problem. "In order to become a Japanese company that will be able to survive for the next 50 to 100 years, I felt the need for some kind of unique, new business in a niche-market with a high value-added aspect." Since then, they began looking to expand their core business into an area that not easily be commoditized, copied, or affected by social changes.