On September 28th, Takayuki Ishitani, a collaborative partner of SG Group (SG Management Co., Ltd., headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo), which operates bars domestically and internationally, achieved his third victory in the finals of the "Japan Barista Championship 2023," organized by the Japan Specialty Coffee Association (SCAJ). This third win in the competition is a remarkable achievement, tying the record for the most victories.
The "Japan Barista Championship (JBC)" follows the rules of the World Barista Championship (WBC), a global barista competition. Six competitors, who emerged victorious in the qualifiers and semifinals from across the country, stood on the finals stage. This event took place on the SCAJ (Japan Specialty Coffee Association) stage, one of Asia's largest specialty coffee events, and it was a packed and enthusiastic affair, with some even standing due to the full house. According to the organizers, approximately 70,000 people visited the Tokyo Big Sight venue during the exhibition (※Total of 69,201 attendees over 4 days).
Takayuki Ishitani, who splendidly won the JBC 2023, will represent Japan in the WBC 2024, scheduled to be held in Busan, South Korea, next May. This marks his second consecutive appearance in the WBC, following his achievement of fourth place in the world rankings in 2022.
Furthermore, on International Coffee Day, which falls on October 1st, at "æ (ash) [zero-waste cafe & bar]" in Tokyo's Shibuya, co-operated by Takayuki Ishitani, they welcomed guest barista Boram, the WBC 2023 champion. Amid various encounters and challenges, amidst the glow of the championship trophy, they were able to serve the world's best cup of coffee. Moving forward, SG Group, along with Takayuki Ishitani, will continue to strive to provide an enjoyable experience to all who visit.
In 2005, he started his career as a barista. In 2012, he became independent and began his activities as TAKA ISHITANI. He has been involved in a wide range of activities, including barista training and coaching, shop direction, coffee service at events, and conducting seminars. He actively participates in competitions both domestically and internationally and has achieved the position of Japanese champion three times, earning numerous accolades in the coffee scene.
Since May 2022, he has been a collaborative partner with SG Group, contributing to the planning and operation of "æ (ash) [zero-waste cafe & bar]."
・æ (ash) [zero-waste cafe & bar]
The "æ" (ash) project, shaped like an infinity sign and coffee beans, is an ongoing endeavor to pursue the concept of zero-waste in a delicious and SG-like manner. Partnering with Takayuki Ishitani, a top barista representing Japan, this project aims to express the potential of coffee and cocktails, serving as both a café during the day and a bar at night.
Through daily practices such as coffee grounds recycling, going paperless, and utilizing renewable materials, this project takes on various challenges and collaborates with different individuals, all in an effort to bring sustainability and innovation to life.
Address: 1-5-2 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
A BAR Culture Company led by Founder Shingo Gokan. It boasts bartenders with a proven track record in both national and international competitions. They develop and operate new concept bars that transcend the boundaries of traditional bars both domestically and internationally, holding the record for the most awards in The World's 50 Best Bars ranking.
In February 2020, they jointly developed "The SG Shochu," a new concept, premium shochu for enjoyment at bars, in collaboration with three sake breweries: Takahashi Shuzo (Kumamoto), Satsuma Shuzo (Kagoshima), and Sanwa Shurui (Oita). They released three lineups: "KOME," "IMO," and "MUGI." In 2021, they started selling it in China, and in the fall of 2022, they began sales in North America. In March 2023, they collaborated with Mizuho Shuzo (Okinawa) and One Spirit (Okinawa) to release "KOKUTO DE LEQUIO," a liqueur made from Ryukyu Awamori and Okinawan black sugar. In the same month, they started general sales of "SIP AND GUZZLE," a glassware brand designed in collaboration with glass designer Yutaro Kimura. These products are available at bar tool shops like "OCHO" in Shibuya, Tokyo, and elsewhere.
Operating Locations and Awards History:
- Speak Low (Shanghai): The World's 50 Best Bars 10th (2017) / Asia's 50 Best Bars 2nd (2017).
- Sober Company (Shanghai): The World's 50 Best Bars 39th (2021) / Asia's 50 Best Bars 5th (2021) / The Best Bar in Mainland China (2022).
- The SG Club (Tokyo): The World's 50 Best Bars 10th (2020) / Asia's 50 Best Bars 3rd (2021) / The Best Bar in Japan (2020, 2021).
- The Odd Couple (Shanghai): Asia's 50 Best Bars 38th (2020).
- ゑすじ郎 / SG Low (Tokyo): Opened in February 2021.
- El Lequio (Okinawa): Opened in March 2022 / Asia's 50 Best Bars 80th (2023).
- æ (ash) [zero-waste cafe & bar] (Tokyo): Opened on May 30, 2022 (Zero Waste Day).
- The SG Shochu (Authentic Shochu): San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2021) - KOME & IMO: Double Gold Medal / MUGI: Gold Medal / Design Category: Bronze Medal.
- KOKUTO DE LEQUIO (Liqueur): Launched in March 2023.
- SIP AND GUZZLE (Glassware): Started general sales in March 2023.
- OCHO (Bar Tool Shop): Opened on June 16, 2023, in Shibuya.