In France, a country where wine has traditionally held sway over the world of alcohol, a subtle change is underway: Sake is finding its place.

For proof, look no further than Paris’ Salon du Sake, the largest gathering centered on Japan’s national drink outside its home country. Held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, organizers planned for more than 5,000 sake producers, culinary veterans and rice wine converts to meet in the French capital’s Newcap Event Center for tastings, networking and ruminations on sake’s global future.

"It's true that the market is booming, even though it has a long way to go,” says Sylvain Huet, a Salon du Sake organizer and “Sake Samurai” evangelist. “There's a growing enthusiasm, whether it's among people already accustomed to sake or simply for business purposes."