PR Times has a report on a survey by Hot Pepper Gourmet Eating Out Research (ホットペッパーグルメ外食研究, hotto peppa- gurume gaishoku kenkyū) on sparkling sake.

Hot Pepper Gourmet Eating Out Research is a monthly magazine that gathers bar and restaurant experts and announces recent phenomena at its Trend Ginza Meeting. As 1 October is Sake Day, their September meeting had a focus on sake - particularly sparkling sake.

The headline for the sparkling sake was that this new style with its bubbly mouthfeel had broken out of the traditional image of sake and was gaining popularity among younger drinkers.

502 people who drank sparkling sake were asked if they had the chance to do so more often, about the same or less often compared to the same time the previous year. 32.4% of men and women in their 20s noticed more opportunities to drink it.

  • 20s - more: 32.4%, same: 53.5%, less: 14.1%
  • 30s - more: 17.9%, same: 65.0%, less: 17.1%
  • 40s - more: 18.9%, same: 66.7%, less: 14.4%
  • 50s - more: 16.7%, same: 71.4%, less 11.9%

Across all age groups, 6.6% said there were more opportunities to drink sparkling sake, and 15.3% said there were somewhat more, a total of 21.9% indicating an increase.

The respondents were then asked to pick a word that described sparkling sake. More than one word could be chosen, and there were 1,032 replies in total.

  1. Stylish (おしゃれ, oshare) 35.9%
  2. Refreshing (すっきりとしている, sukkiri to shiteiru) 31.5%
  3. Easy to drink (飲みやすい, nomiyasui) 31.0%
  4. Trendy (流行っている, ryūkōtteiru) 14.5%
  5. Luxurious (特別感がある, tokubetsukan ga aru) 13.4%

The article particularly notes the difference between perceptions of sparkling and traditional sake. Another question in the survey was when people wanted to drink it - birthdays and anniversaries came in at 18.1%, and partying with friends took 17.9%. No more drinking the warm stuff at home, sparkling sake was clearly seen as something to drink in a group.

Large and famous breweries are credited with pushing out new products, including sparkling sake. Seen the industry's despair over young people turning away from alcohol in general and sake in particular, this rising popularity among young people is quite a success. The fizzy bubbles and light mouthfeel make it light and easy to drink, and its champagne-like stylish appearance means it's not out of place in most settings. It also offers new possibilities for food pairing, including with non-Japanese cuisine such as French cooking.

The article then gives the full results of the survey.

Q1: Do you like sparkling sake? (1,032 responses, one answer)

  • Never had/Can't drink alcohol: 51.4%
  • Like : 9.6%
  • Somewhat like: 22.1%
  • Somewhat hate: 9.3%
  • Hate: 7.7%

Broken down by age and gender

Men

  • 20s: 42.6% like, 16.3% hate, 41.1% never had/can't drink alcohol
  • 30s: 36.4% like, 17.1% hate, 46.5% never had/can't drink alcohol
  • 40s: 30.2% like, 16.3% hate, 53.5% never had/can't drink alcohol
  • 50s: 37.2% like, 17.1% hate, 45.7% never had/can't drink alcohol

Women

  • 20s: 29.5% like, 21.7% hate, 48.8% never had/can't drink alcohol
  • 30s: 27.9% like, 14.0% hate, 58.1% never had/can't drink alcohol
  • 40s: 27.1% like, 12.4% hate, 60.5% never had/can't drink alcohol
  • 50s: 22.5% like, 20.9% hate, 56.6% never had/can't drink alcohol

"Like" is the total of "like" and "somewhat like" responses, and "hate" is the total of "somewhat hate" and "hate" responses.

The full survey responses also have an interesting top 5 times respondents wanted to drink sparkling sake, sake or beer.

Sparkling sake

  1. With meals: 27.7%
  2. No particular time: 26.3%
  3. Birthday, anniversary: 18.1%
  4. Partying with friends: 17.9%
  5. Treat myself: 17.9%

[So, yeah. A bit of cherry-picking going on!]

Sake

  1. With meals: 30.9%
  2. No particular time: 27.1%
  3. Relaxing with a drink on my own: 26.1%
  4. Treat myself: 16.9%
  5. Seasonal event: 14.9%

Beer

  1. Partying with friends: 42.4%
  2. Making a toast: 41.0%
  3. With meals: 35.9%
  4. Regularly: 35.7%
  5. No particular time: 19.9%

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