JR East Cross Station Water Business Company's Acure made brand digital vending machines can go a bit beyond providing a simple beverage, offering subscription services and the ability to gift a friend a drink.
What they've come to be known for a bit lately, however, is offering "drinkable" canned versions of what you likely wouldn't consider a standard beverage to begin with. In recent years, they've stocked their vending machines with drinkable spicy mapo soup, strawberry shortcake, and 10-spice curry.
You can now add one of Japan's most popular ramen chains to their menu, as select vending machines will now be selling cans of Ippudo's tonkotsu pork broth ramen soup.
Ippudo is known for their signature Hakata-style ramen, which serves up thin noodles in rich and fatty tonkotsu pork broth that has a bit of a creamy quality to it.
The new canned ramen broth is called "Koku to Umami no Ippudo Tonkotsu Ramen Soup" (Rich flavor and Umami Ippudo Tonkotsu Ramen Soup), and Ippudo closely oversaw the development of the broth recipe.
The ramen chain says they made special adjustments such as reducing amount of oil and lowered the salt concentration to make it easier to drink, while delivering the satisfying flavor and filling quality of their ramen broth even though it contains no noodles or toppings.
JR East Cross Station Water Business Company and Ippudo say they collaborated on the canned ramen soup to address the needs of customers not quite in the mood for a full meal or in a hurry, but still craved something flavorful and filling. Because it will be sold at train stations on JR East (East Japan Railway), it's also meant to provide for late-night commuters who may not have a lot of options given operating hours of stores during the pandemic, as well as a "sober-up" shop after a long night out.
The canned Ippudo ramen broth will be sold at Acure made vending machines found within JR East train stations (priced at 150 yen) as well as JR East Cross Station Water Business Company and Ippudo online stores.
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