Major Japanese sake brewers are stepping up U.S. production and considering further expanding capacity as their local units introduce new varieties that meet American tastes and complement Japanese cuisine.

For Japanese brewers, U.S. production offers lower costs than exporting the drink and quicker delivery to consumers, with the beverage best drank fresh within one year.

Locally produced sake has become a key menu item at restaurants as Japanese cuisine, or washoku, recognized as an intangible cultural asset by UNESCO, remains popular especially in metropolises such as New York and Los Angeles.