The new boss of Takara Holdings Inc., Japan's biggest sake-supplier to overseas markets, wants to make the rice-based alcohol as popular as wine.

Mutsumi Kimura, 55, who in June became the third-youngest president in Takara's 93-year history, plans to expand the company's network in the U.S., its biggest export market. That may include acquiring local distributors as an option, Kimura said in an interview. The firm is also targeting a 5 to 6 percent per year increase in output at its Berkeley sake plant, using locally grown rice, he said.

Kimura wants to see Takara's revenue from overseas operations account for about half of total sales. "It's not a distant goal," given international sales rose to about 33 percent of total revenue in the year through March 2018 from 13 percent in 2013-14, he said.