In a world first, a Japanese research institute has developed a process for making sake from trees, with at least one startup aiming to commercialize its cedar-based product by 2025.

The Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute devised the manufacturing process, which is similar to that for producing shōchū (Japan's indigenous spirit), to create unique flavors using cutting-edge fermentation technology, considered to be the first of its kind in the world.

Although the high cost of installing equipment for the production process presents a challenge for companies wishing to enter the market, the research institute is focusing on lending its support for commercial production to increase demand for domestic timber.