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Sake led record surge in Japanese liquor exports to ¥20.6 billion in 2012

JIJI

Sake exports set a new high of ¥8.9 billion in 2012 as sales at home remained in the doldrums.

Led by sake, Japan’s overall liquor exports in 2012 also climbed to a record ¥20.6 billion, the highest since 1988, when related data first became available. Sake was followed by beer and whiskey, at ¥4.4 billion and ¥2.4 billion, respectively.

Most of the sake, ¥3.2 billion by value, was sent to the United States, followed by Hong Kong (¥1.4 billion) and South Korea (¥1.2 billion), the National Tax Agency said.

In contrast, sake sales in Japan totaled 600,000 kiloliters by the end of March 2012, down 60 percent from two decades earlier.

An agency official credited the overseas sake demand to higher interest in Japan’s culture, especially cuisine.

U.S. sake expert John Gauntner said sake-makers began aggressively marketing the traditional beverage over 10 years ago.