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Sake is losing ground as it fails to offer classic combinations, such as wine for steak and beer for ‘yakiniku’ grilled meat. It’s a critical situation.

22 Comments

Satoaki Yamada, chief of the first research division at Sakebunka Institute Inc, which spreads information about sake. He says sake makers have failed to come up with effective measures to expand the customer base as more people shift to drinking beer and wine at home due to the pandemic.

© Asahi Shimbun

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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There's a good classic combination - Japanese food.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

We drink sake with Sushi and some other dishes.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Beer and wine have the 'image' that sake doesn't. Very easy to rectify the minds of the average unthinking consumer though... it's just marketing, which is descended from propaganda: https://youtu.be/BTmbme9p2k0

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The big problem with sake makers is what it is with most "traditional" niches here. They think the average Japanese person still thinks. "It is traditional for Japanese" and that is all they need to depend on.

They forget that this is the 21st century and with global travel and the internet what is "traditional" is seen as boring, old, antiquated. Sake makers especially have sat back and lost market share year after year and now just can't figure it out. They have not marketed their product for the young adults and that is their future business.

On TV there is beer and chuhi commercial after commercial. Sake commercials? (save One Cup which is sake flavored spilge). What is ineteresting is that shochu distillers have had an internet influence since the first days with popup ads, especially Kirishima Shochu.

The sake makers forget the Space Balls lesson from Yogurt, "Merchandizing, merchandizing, merchandizing, you are merchandizing or you are dying."

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The best sake is very expensive. That may be the reason why there is no interest in drinking the cheap horrible tasting stuff.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The best wine is also very expensive.

Before covid, when I was going to izakayas, mostly work-related, the kanpai was with beer, then we usually switched to sake. I thought this is the norm, but it seems that beer is becoming more popular.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Not bad with sushi.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Unlike wine, I do not think sake has any particular health benefits and it is stronger than beer and is associated with alcoholism in Japan.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The product is not the problem at all, the old fashioned, near medieval marketing and advertising is. And in general a lack of advertising and if they do they use the even more antiquated Dentsu or Hakuhodo agencies as uncreative as possible. Packaging needs to change for abroad and leading brand names created. There is also no product informative promotion so that 90% of people abroad still think sake is only drank warm.

Sake has everything to be a leading alcoholic drink, the makers have to look at themselves. The match with good excuse is ridiculous. Beer and wine are in general lower in alcohol content, Sake is more in the Porto, Sherry, Campari, Martini range. They do well and have no food connections. Sake has Sushi-sashimi over them, and it’s smoothness. It should be a topper with the right marketing

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Good sake made with 100% single rice and no additives can be found for less than ¥1500 a bottle. Tasted the best sake from Niigata made in limited production at ¥15,000 and well-worth the experience.

Over the last few decades, sake exports have increased.

We also drink beer and wines. Interestingly, when we take our monthly bottles to the recycling point we always have the greatest numbers of wine bottles. Mostly the others are the very large sake bottles.

There is also Shochu which we don't like.

The European sake market is worth more than $100 million. Total exports more than $200 million. Increasing every year.

Sake is 15-18% alcohol. Much less than whiskey.

There are five or six types of sake. Junmai grade is the fastest expanding one.

Many Japanese know less about wines.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This idea that alcohol pairing with certain food, while having some basis, is not an absolute.

Varying palates, varieties and sensibilities should allow people to consume and mix for whatever suits them.

The notion that sake made from rice suits Japanese cuisine based on rice is way outdated.

I suppose wine suits western cuisine because western countries cultures are based on grapes!!!

Sake is not presented as a fresh, fun, drink that also has complexities.

Rather the image is staid - that of middle-aged men sitting on tatami nibbling rice crackers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Times, they are a changin'. Tastes too. Good to see people using their own minds as to what to drink and eat. When I got here, Japanese were almost universally locked in to the ''only-this-goes-with-that'' mentality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This idea that alcohol pairing with certain food, while having some basis, is not an absolute.

I can only speak for myself, but I am not a believer in pairing of drinks with foods and dislike the snobbery around it.

I do not think this is the best and only way for alcohol producers to market their products. There has been an explosion in the popularity of red wine, but this has coincided with increase ABVs, punchier fruitier tastes, and people pouring more generous servings, not the 120ml glass of old. Large servings of 15% by vol wine means people drinking wine are getting drunk.

To sell lots of sake what are they going to pair it with? Gyoza? Karaage chicken? Raamen? Katsu curry? Because that is what people eat. Most people eat good sushi or kaiseki once in a blue moon. Sushi means Kappa Zushi for the average person.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think the sake is very suitable for certain dishes like sushi but anyone can drink whatever they want. Sushi and coke or whiskey.

In the hot summers, we usually eat sushi with cold white wine with ice or even champagne. I don't think red wine would ever work for me. Sake mixes work well too. Sake and my homemade plum juice are very good.

What about the Japanese drinking cold red wine? Very strange when I first landed but after 30 years I am good with it.

Sake or rice wine goes well with many Chinese dishes too when it drank hot.

Usually, once a week we buy a 750 ml bottle of organic sake for about ¥1,000. But 80% of sake is produced in Kobe City.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Most booze you can just pour it straight from the fridge, or pour it over ice and it's ready to go.

Sake you have to warm it up, which adds an extra layer of bother; fiddling about in the kitchen, and more stuff to wash at the end.

I like a nice sake tipple with a nice posh Japanese meal in a restaurant where I'm not the one responsible for preparing everything, checking everything's at the right temperature, or washing up afterwards.

At home - nah. Wine with Western nosh, shochu or chuhai with Japanese, a mishmash of rum, vodka, tequila or whatever else is to hand long cocktails with fusion.

It works for us.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Almost every wine taste good even if its inexpensive. Sake, not so. Sake has gone out with the dinosaurs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Internationally, sake sales are doing very well. Domestically, I don’t know, but any drop is probably coronavirus related, and will recover if the vaccination effort ever gets together. Old people in Japan never die, and they all drink sake.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A Japanese co-worker complained that saké has no taste; all the different sakés taste the same to him. Asking around, most Japanese under 40 I asked had similar reactions.

Perhaps producers should tread the can chu hi route and add flavors. An abomination, in my opinion, but they want to make money, don’t they?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleo

we drink our sake chilled. Cheaper sake is often warmed to disguise its low grade, and premium sake is served chilled.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Who cares? If it's meant to rebound, and I have no doubt it is, it will. You can't force it on people. Maybe start by making it a lot cheaper.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Tradition" is a double edge sword.

It can mean preservation or stagnation.

Japanese culture has a habit of wanting to preserve Japanese cultural traditions, but they do not show that same respect for foreign cultural traditions. They will try any creative idea with foreign culture.

That mindset has hurt Japan's ability to innovate in many areas.

Like others have said, stop charging premium prices for everything. That will go a long way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Quality sake is usually served chilled.

Lower quality sake is usually warmed to mask the taste.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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