Japanese saké exports reach record high in 2017

While exports of Japanese saké set a new record in 2017, boosted by a growing interest in the country’s cuisine overseas, Japan itself has reported a decline in domestic consumption.

Japanese saké

Japan’s saké exports increased by 19% last year to 23,481 kilolitres last year, mainly via Kobe Port, which accounted for nearly half of the total volume (49.7%), according to a report by Japan News.

Kobe Port is located near a number of prestigious saké breweries such as Nadagogo in Hyogo Prefecture and Fushimi in Kyoto Prefecture.

The country’s saké exports have been growing since 2006, and in 2016, for the first time, the export volume surpassed the 20,000 kilolitre mark, according to the report.

The growth is inevitably linked to the growing number of Japanese restaurants serving the rice wine overseas.

According to Japan’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, the number of restaurants serving Japanese cuisine outside Japan grew from 89,000 in 2015 to 118,000 as of October 2017.

The country’s top export market is the US, which accounted for 25% of the total, followed by South Korea, China and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, domestic sake consumption is slowly declining. Current domestic consumption is as low as about one-third of the peak it reached in fiscal year of 1975, driving breweries to explore more opportunities overseas.

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