Sake shipments’ first rise in 16 years a Tohoku sympathy gesture?

Kyodo

Shipments of sake totaled 601,807 kiloliters in fiscal 2011, up 1.2 percent from the previous year and the first gain in 16 years, an industry body said in a preliminary report Tuesday.

The result reflects an increase in purchases by consumers wishing to support brewers in the Tohoku region, which was devastated by the March 11, 2011, megaquake and tsunami, according to the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association. “Shochu” spirits, unlike rice-based sake, can be made from other grains, as well as sweet potatoes.

Shipments from all six prefectures in Tohoku showed gains averaging 7.0 percent. In particular, shipments from Miyagi grew 27.7 percent and from Iwate 14.2 percent.

Sake shipments peaked at 1.74 million kiloliters in fiscal 1973.