Japan based Licensed Sake distributor and Japanese Sake exporter of smaller Artisan breweries with generations of history and awards, targeting Sake importers Japan based Licensed Sake distributor and Japanese Sake exporter of smaller Artisan breweries with generations of history and awards, targeting Sake importers

Global Sake Import and Export Market

The Global Sake Import and Export market

Sake, also called nihonshu, is rapidly going global and the number of Sake drinkers is rising sharply around the world. The  Global Sake export market is showing great growth: the value of Japan’s annual Sake exports doubled over the past five years to a record-high 22.2 billion yen ($200 million) in 2018. The USA is the top Japan Sake export market with total imports worth $45 million in 2016, and the figures show growth potential, with Japan’s tax agency data indicating a 21% rise in global Sake exports year on year. Following America for Sake imports are the Asian countries of Hong Kong, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and the European countries headed by the UK and France. Recent Trade Agreements with the EU and the CPTTP Agreement covering most of Asia and Canada will also have an added positive impact on sales of imported Sake.




The fastest-growing Sake import market is China and exports sharply rose by more than threefold from 2008, additionally they more than doubled to South Korea. In many other countries Japanese food has already become popular and is now regarded as a normal choice for diners, combined with the rise in Japanese culture, the upcoming Olympics and the huge surge in tourism to Japan; Sake is now a regular product on restaurant menus, in hotels and in supermarkets. The growth in the hospitality sector was being particularly led by the higher-end establishments but has now filtered down to the more mainstream. Also we are seeing Sake bars popping up across the world.


The result is that businesses are now requesting Sake distributors to supply higher-end, rarer Sake. Sakeportal has noticed that as Sake becomes more mainstream, the demand for Sake has changed as the market and the consumers are becoming more sophisticated. With people becoming more aware of Japanese Sake (and Japan in general) they are seeking out new, interesting Sake to import that is in tune with global trends. This is reflected in orders from our clients for non-mass produced Sake with brand stories allowing them to offer attract new consumers and have a differentiated sales points over their competition. With Sakeportal’s private label service businesses can go that extra step and have their own branded Sake for a truly unique sales point.

This is not only great news for Sake export companies but also the Sake trend has created new business ideas across industries from shipping companies now offering bespoke services for the safe shipping of Sake to overseas Sake Sommelier courses. For Sake suppliers and sellers they are grasping this opportunity and developing Sake in ways to match and attract their domestic market. Recent trends include new innovative food pairings, Sake tasting events and Sake cocktails are becoming very fashionable in many major cities. Good Sake distributors will keep up to date with the latest regional and global trends and should adapt their business models to match these trends. At present, the remaining global trend of Artisan is still on point. The inherent sales point that most Sake is not mass-produced and brewed from local brewers matches this global Artisan trend.

Although there is still some market education to be done, thanks to the above factors it is now of minimal concern for Sake distributors and importers. Sake is an exciting new product for many and the Sake export trend is set to continue over the next 5 or 6 years.