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BBR runs sake en primeur offer after stellar growth

The UK’s oldest wine merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd, is offering sake En Primeur this month, after seeing huge growth in sales of the Japanese drink. 

This is the second year that the retailer has offered a sake en primeur, following the inaugural offer last year, which sold out within days. It comes after BBR saw annual sales of sake increase ten-fold in the year to March 2024 compared to the previous year, while online searches for the drink increased by 300% during 2023.

On it’s website, the retailer noted that “just as many of the finest wines are snapped up whilst they are still maturing in the winery, top sakes are now available En Primeur.” It also comes after BBR launched its first spirits shop last month, which includes a range of around 20 fine sakes – although it is technically not a spirit but closer to a brewed drink. The company has invested in additional refrigeration capacity so that all sake it stores and sells can be enjoyed at its best, it said.

This year’s launch includes bottles from three innovative sake breweries: Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute, Tatenokawa and IWA 5.

Launched in 2017 by one of the most famous master sake brewers (Tojis), 91-year-old Naguchi Naokiho, Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute is unusual in that it can  be cellar aged for decades before opening. Meanwhile historic brand Tatenokawa, which is now run by the sixth generatin of the family, is a fine, floral Daiginjo sake, which has a fresh fruit character and subtle flavours to pair well with food. The third sake on offer is IWA, which is created by former Chef de Cave of Dom Pérignon Richard Geoffroy.

Rob Whitehead, spirits Buyer at Berry Bros. & Rudd said he was thrilled to offer its customers the opportunity to engage with sake, both through the new Spirits Shop and through a dedicated En Primeur campaign, “which challenges the traditions of sake and customer perceptions of the drink.”


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