The Nikkei newspaper reports on new statistics from Yamaguchi which show a promising trend for sake being shipped out across the country and overseas.
The Yamaguchi brewers' association compiled figures for the 2017 brewing year (July 2017 - June 2018) and found that the amount of sake sent out of the prefecture was 8,116 kilolitres, up 11.1% on the previous year. It also marks 11 continuous years of increasing exports.
While the quantity of sake distributed inside the prefecture fell by 14%, it was made up for by a strong showing for national and international shipments. And although breweries are struggling to increase domestic consumption, many small and medium-sized kura are using original and distinctive branding to make their sake popular and buck the trend.
1,674 kilolitres of sake was sold inside the prefecture, 5,376 kilolitres shipped domestically - an increase of 12% on the previous period - and 1,066 kilolitres shipped overseas - an increase of 79% on the previous period. [The article says "in FY2017" for the figures, which normally means May 2017 - April 2018 but I assume it's following the brewing year here and means July 2017 - June 2018.] The 24 breweries that make up the Yamaguchi association put the prefecture's success down to active efforts to procure rice for brewing, open new sales channels and promote the region.
Overseas exports have increased nearly 15-fold over the last 10 years, and consist mainly of tokutei meisho shu such as junmai ginjō going to North America, China and Korea. Certain breweries such as Asahi Shuzō (makers of Dassai), Sumikawa Shuzō (makers of Toyo Bijin) and Yamagata Honten [who are in Yamaguchi - Yamagata is their family name] are ramping up exports.