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Sake breweries, which are struggling, are seeing whisky making as the last trump card for their survival. That presents high hurdles, including a need to acquire distillation technologies, but it also allows sake breweries to make whisky during their slack season.

9 Comments

Mamoru Tsuchiya, head of the Tokyo-based Japan Whisky Research Center. Sake breweries across Japan are venturing into whisky production.

© Asahi Shimbun

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Sake breweries, which are struggling, are seeing whisky making as the last trump card for their survival.

You know, there is a genius Scottish writer who has inspired Musk and Bezos with his visions toward the future and a new Culture and who coincidentally also wrote about whisky!

Iain Banks.

https://whiskymag.com/articles/literary-spirit-iain-banks/

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I thought recently I had read that there was a real Sake boom going on in the west. Is it being produced outside of Japan? As has been reported young people are not drinking as much, so I guess this is the fallout from that.

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MarkX wrote Today 08:17 am JST

I thought recently I had read that there was a real Sake boom going on in the west. Is it being produced outside of Japan? As has been reported young people are not drinking as much, so I guess this is the fallout from that.

Sake is usually only brewed during winter season.

Though it is technically possible to brew it year-round, traditional brewers stick to winter. That's why some venture into craft beer or whisky, they have some know-how and can work during other seasons.

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The sake brewers are not the most creative people. Their product is mostly good to great but

1) the packaging outdated and ugly

2) different from whisky they have not succeeded in creating brand names which ring a bell with consumers. Even in Japan it’s a problem

3) the marketing plan for export is almost non existent

4) overseas Same is marketed as sake by that I mean as a generic name and not as brands. Outside of Japan everybody is stil convinced it is only drank hot

5) the disgustingly bad quality Japanese restaurants abroad ( 95% of them) are run mostly by Chinese and serve overpriced bad sake , often cooking sake. For those drinking sake the first time it’s enough to never drink it again. Same for the “ sushi “ these establishments serve. Rice with fish, is not sushi.

overall Sake is a great drink, torpedoed by its own producers lack of marketing skills

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

We enjoyed a weekly bottle of chilled sake with our sushi or sashimi until we gave up alcohol.

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5) the disgustingly bad quality Japanese restaurants abroad ( 95% of them) are run mostly by Chinese and serve overpriced bad sake , often cooking sake. For those drinking sake the first time it’s enough to never drink it again. Same for the “ sushi “ these establishments serve. Rice with fish, is not sushi. 

I agree with you except on the last part, in Southern California most of the so-called Japanese restaurants are often run by Koreans, I know some Chinese ran a few questionable ones, but the more decent ones were often Korean-owned, they definitely know how to present the sushi better, but the Japanese still run the top-notch ones, and they cost an enormous amount of money. I love Sake, but you made some very important and valid points. I should add to that, the Japanese also are extremely resistant to change and that is another stumbling block for them as to why in many areas they cannot move forward or adapt.

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On the other hand, the export market for sake has really opened up over the past 20 years. Worldwide, people are more aware of sake and the different brewers.

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On the other hand, the export market for sake has really opened up over the past 20 years. Worldwide, people are more aware of sake and the different brewers.

Definitely there is more awareness, but it's still a small thing. Japanese whiskey by contrast sells far better.

A supermarket abroad may sell several types of J whiskey, but only one type of sake, if any.

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The challenge of exporting sake is that sake is brewed and not distilled meaning for it to be best enjoyed it needs to remain refrigerated and enjoyed when fresh, say within the first 12 months although some style are better drunk ASAP.

Highest growth areas include Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and somewhat surprisingly the USA.

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