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There’s even more in the MyNavi News article, which finishes off with thoughts on the sake “boom” and where people are buying their sake.

The article mentions (without any further evidence) that there was a period when poor quality sake was on the market and the number of people drinking it fell sharply.

However, small local breweries were doing their best to produce good quality sake, which alongside some hit labels led to people re-evaluating sake and a consequent increase in sales.

41.9% of respondents replied that they drink sake “often” or “sometimes”. 64% said they drank at home. The article muses that people who already like sake know what they like, but they recommend an easy-drinking style like junmai daiginjō to anyone who isn’t used to it.

But where to find a good sake? Although it’s available at convenience stores and in supermarkets, most is only sold at specialist shops. However, the survey results show that 46.7% of respondents buy their sake at the supermarket, and 8.1% at convenience stores, meaning that half are choosing from a very limited selection dominated by the small number of mega-breweries with the commercial reach to be stocked in large general shops.

The survey results for “Where do you usually buy sake?”:

  • Supermarket: 63 votes
  • Discount liquor shop: 34 votes
  • Convenience store: 11 votes
  • Specialist shop: 20 votes
  • Online: 6 votes
  • Other: 1 vote

The problem isn’t so much that there’s no good sake in supermarkets, there can be, but the selection is extremely small. The best place to go is a specialist shop, but only 14.8% of respondents bought from one. The discount shops (25.2%) are a recent arrival on the market, but can carry good regional sake. And the 4.4% buying online could well be buying from specialists.

The survey was carried out on 28 May 2018 among MyNavi News members, totalling 503 people (349 men and 154 women).