USA Sake Market Overview
The USA Sake market continues to be the global number one importer of Japanese Sake. 2016-2017 saw an increase of 16% 2017, with a dollar value increase from 800 million yen to 6 billion yen. This is an increase of 1.7 times from 2007 levels. Sake is ranked second after yellowtail fish in all Japan’s exports to the USA. Sake is particularly popular in the main cities and some data suggests that the Sake market in these USA cities are growing by more than 20%. The Japanese Government 2017 data records that the overall Japanese Sake export market expanded to a record 18.68 billion yen (about $170 million).
To drive the USA Sake market, growth needs to occur across all retail environments: bars, restaurants, hotels and alcohol shops. The knowledge and experience of staff in these establishments need to have a deeper understanding of Sake, not only about the taste and flavours but also Sake history, heritage and brewing process. Then they can fully explain which Sake to purchase, to drink hot or cold or to match with foods that aren’t traditional Japanese Dishes.
For B2B, Sakeportal has noticed the specific tendency towards the premium grades: daiginjo, ginjo and junmaishu Sake to America and Hong Kong in particular. Japan’s sake breweries and distributors are developing networks, trade tools and making brand connections with American Sake importers through storytelling, emphasising the long history of their Sake breweries and information concerning the characteristics and flavours of their Sake. Sakeportal is at the forefront of this and provides all clients with a personal story from the CEO of each brewery.
To further educate, there are now many Sake events, tastings and exhibitions in the USA targeting retailers, restaurant operators, Sake distributors and brokers. This allows representatives to meet, gather information and conduct business.
American made Sake
The American Craft Sake Festival organised by Bens American Sake
There has been a recent rise in American owned Sake breweries producing high quality Artisan Sake with unique twists on traditional tastes. There are now a total of 21 Sake breweries dotted across America and total USA Sake production went from 12.9 million liters in 2007 to 19.2 million liters in 2015 a nearly 50 percent increase. Additionally a number of Japanese Sake breweries are opening breweries directly in America to compete and to alleviate the transport costs of exporting from Japan.
It will be interesting to see how the American Sakes do in the market. Sakeportal is sure they will get a foothold with consumers but we feel Japanese imported Sake will still dominate and Made in Japan will always have that extra level of authenticity, brand status and will continue to attract consumers wanting a true brand experience.
Sakeportal also see the growth of American made Sake as an exciting positive point not competition as this will accelerate the understanding of Sake and will quicken the timeline to Sake being a mainstream beverage. All is good!