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May, 2024

Oi Ocha’s ambassador catch: Australian tea brand partners with baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani

Australian-grown Japanese tea brand, Oi Ocha, has announced a partnership with baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani.

The move comes after Ohtani recently signed a record-breaking $700m, 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Oi Ocha, a popular green tea brewed from Australian-grown tea in Victoria, is the flagship brand of the iconic Japanese company Ito En, which has sold more than 43 billion bottles worldwide since its launch in 1989.

“I have been a big fan of Oi Ocha since my time in Japan and it has remained an important companion to me even in my life in America. I was thrilled to hear that my love for Oi Ocha and my frequent consumption of it resonated with Ito En, which led to this opportunity. As a devoted fan of Oi Ocha, I am excited about the prospect of sharing its charm with people all over the world,” said Ohtani.

The partnership announcement follows a local growth in baseball popularity in Australia. Ito En has been reformulating Oi Ocha using 100% Australian green tea since 2018. In 2019, the company began building refining and tea-bagging facilities in Wangaratta, Victoria, marking its first vertically integrated production line outside of Japan.

“Mr Ohtani has been enjoying Oi Ocha on various occasions, from his time in Japan to his current life in Los Angeles. No matter the time of day, no matter how far apart. we’re here for you, Ohtani-san. Always,” said Daisuke Honjo, Ito En President and Representative Director.

Oi Ocha has seen a 210% increase in sales in Australia in the 5-year period ending April 2023. Ito En is releasing an open letter of support to Ohtani in more than 60 newspapers worldwide, including in Australia.

Baseball has grown in popularity in Australia, particularly due to the success of former Chicago White Sox star Liam Hendriks. Oi Ocha’s unsweetened beverages are now sold in over 40 countries.