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The Nikkei Newspaper has a short piece on sake in the USA, noting that imports have increased by 50% over the last 10 years.

While that’s been in the news a lot recently, the article concentrates on America’s long history of sake brewing which stretches back to the early 1900s in Hawaii and California.

These early breweries shut down during Prohibition (1920-1933) and the Pacific War (1941-1945) but reopened after the war ended. Big brewers such as Takara then set up in the USA in the 1980s to make the most of the emerging popularity of Japanese food. Today there are 20 sake breweries, big and small, across the country.

Demand for sake overseas is rising, and with it exports. According to trade statistics from the Japanese Ministry of Finance, sake exports in 2017 amounted to 23,000 kilolitres and the volume exported doubled between 2007 and 2010.

The USA accounts for the largest proportion of exports, taking 5,780 kilolitres or around 25% of the total. Exports to the USA have also increased by 50% since 2007. In financial terms, the increase has been of 75% to JPY 6.039 billion.

Exports to China have recently increased as well, overtaking those to Korea to make China the third largest export destination after the USA and Hong Kong. Many products destined for the Chinese market are low in price, meaning that the value of those exports is far below those to the USA.