State of sake in 2022 - Taste Translation

PR Times carries a press release from My Voice, a research company specialising in online surveys.

They have surveyed the Japanese public about their sake consumption habits since 2008, and the most recent survey took place online between 1-5 February 2022. The press release contains not only results from 2022, but also comparison with other years.

10,069 people responded to the 2022 online survey, and like most recent sake surveys the results are rather sobering.

Results highlighted in the press release were:

  • 45% of those surveyed drink sake, down from the previous survey in 2019, with most being men in their 60s or 70s
  • Just over 10% drink sake once a week or more
  • The most commonly bought format of sake was 720 ml bottles, bought by around 40% of respondents, an increase from the last survey
  • Just over 50% of people who drink any kind of alcohol are interested in drinking sake, with the figures higher for men in their 60s and 70s, and lowest for men in their 20s

There are another few interesting results, such as an increase in the proportion of people who do not drink or cannot drink alcohol (2010: 16%, 2022: 28.1%). And it doesn’t seem to be pandemic-related, as that percentage increased steadily throughout the 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2019 surveys.

The number who drink some kind of alcohol but do not or cannot drink sake jumped between 2010 (23.8%) and 2012 (26.6%), then fluctuated around 26-27%. The pattern is similar for those drinking sake once a month or less, falling from 30.2% in 2010 to 25.8% in 2012, then hovering around 25-27%.

The survey also found that more people were drinking sake at home, about 80%, with many of those in the older age brackets. Around 30% of respondents said they would drink sake the day before or night of a day off, with around 20% choosing to drink sake while on holiday, with a special meal, to enjoy a meal, at home, or with everyday meals. Women were more likely to choose a special meal, younger people were more likely to go for the day before or evening of a day off, and men in their 70s were more likely to drink sake with everyday meals.

When the sake drinkers were asked what format they bought sake in to drink at home, 720 ml bottles have increased steadily in popularity since 2014, with modest increases for smaller bottle sizes (<300 ml, 300 ml, 500 ml) and one-cups (100-300 ml). Fewer were buying isshobin (1.8 L) bottles, and there was a small increase in 180 ml pack sake but a small drop in larger pack sizes.

When asked what they looked for when choosing a sake to drink at home, sake drinkers said (multiple choice question):

  • Flavour (65.7%)
  • Sweet/dry, price (both around 40%)
  • Easy to drink (38.8%)

Easy drinking and sweet/dry were more important for women, while junmai or not and labels were least important for those in their 20s or 30s, showing a significant difference between age groups.

Asked if they drank more sake at home since the pandemic started, just over 10% said yes, with most being women in their 20s and 30s. Just under 20% said they were drinking less sake at home, and 62.1% reported no change. 


Interested that there is some significant change between 2010 and 2012 as well, I wonder what is behind that. (Tax/price changes? Health concerns?) But still challenging to appeal to the younger age brackets. And I seem to be an oyaji at heart. 


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