Japan’s exports of alcoholic beverages in 2012 rose 8.5 percent from the previous year to a record ¥20.6 billion, according to National Tax Agency data.
The surge came partly because exports of beer and sake grew for a third consecutive year. Exports came to ¥8.9 billion for sake, ¥4.4 billion for beer and ¥2.4 billion for whisky, which rose for the seventh consecutive year although its share is relatively small compared to sake and beer.
In volume, exports stood at 14.13 million liters for sake, 38.37 million liters for beer and 1.92 million liters for whisky.
By country and region, exports to the United States were the biggest at ¥4.6 billion, followed by South Korea at ¥3.5 billion and Hong Kong at ¥2.5 billion, the data said.
Sake exports started to rise markedly in 2000.
“The presence of the Japanese rice wine has grown in the U.S. and European markets as Japanese food culture is increasingly introduced in English,” a sake brewery official said.
While the Japanese market remains slow, sake breweries are aiming to boost exports further since demand for high-priced products is expanding overseas.
Beer exports had been declining after peaking in 1998. In recent years, however, exports to South Korea and Taiwan have been surging. In 2012, South Korea-bound exports topped ¥2.2 billion, versus the 2010 level of slightly below ¥1 billion.