As U.S. consumers have steadily become more selective in their food and beverage choices, premium products have grown exponentially. Sake has been somewhat slow to catch on to this trend, but the past few years have proven that the tide has shifted significantly in the Japanese wine’s favor. Domestic and imported sake consumption in the U.S. market reached an all-time high in 2016, according to Impact Databank, growing 3 percent in 2016 to 2.3 million nine-liter cases.
“Sake is growing incredibly,” says Bruce Hunter, managing director at Shaw-Ross International Importers. The company became the exclusive U.S. importer for No.-2 brand Gekkeikan in January 2016. “It’s becoming more mainstream, whereas before it was relegated to just Japanese restaurants,” Hunter notes. “The discerning drinker is turning to sake like they do wine.” Gekkeikan was down 5 percent in 2016 to 463,000 cases, according to Impact Databank, but still commands an impressive 20 percent of the overall category. Hunter expects case sales to increase 10 to 12 percent in 2017.
Excerpt taken from:
Market Watch Mag
Author: Sally Kral