Naomi Osaka invests in sake producer

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has been appointed as creative director for SOTO after investing in the premium sake brand.

The 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open champion will lend “generational and cultural insights” to the brand as it targets growth in the US, Canada and Europe.

Osaka, who was born in Osaka, Japan, said: “As a native of Japan, I am proud to be involved with a product that is authentically Japanese.

“SOTO’s status as a made-in-Japan, traditional ‘Japanese sake’ is another major reason I’m supporting the brand.”

Billy Melnyk, who co-founded the brand with business partner Dan Rubinoff, added: “Naomi’s elegant, serene demeanour and philosophical outlook on her life and young career are big reasons we wanted her to be involved with SOTO.

“Appreciating true Japanese sake is a transportive and enlightening experience, and we wanted our first publicly celebrated investor to embody that.

“Having worked with many global liquor brands and high-profile personalities for over 15 years, I wanted SOTO to take a different path to introduce its beautiful Japanese sakes to the world. This is a discerning drink for an educated, global citizen, and I love the idea that Naomi will help us do that tastefully, graciously and with the same focus and will she demonstrates on a Grand Slam court.”

Melnyk and Rubinoff are based in Miami, Florida, and they have secured listings for SOTO at thousands of locations in North America and Europe.