Learn to love wine: Japan has stepped up its efforts to lure foreign markets.

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Learn to love wine: Japan has stepped up its efforts to lure foreign markets.

Outside Japan, sake is a bit of a mystery, with its own terminology, style and drinking tradition. But the country’s recent push to make it easier for non-local drinkers to understand this is having an impact, particularly in the us.

Sake can easily fall into the cracks of American drinkers. Because sake is brewed, it relies on a mold called aspergillus to convert the rice starch into sugar fermentation, “it is made like beer, but drinks like wine” texture, character and strength. A pint of five percent alcohol is a wise service; A pint of 16 to 17 percent alcohol is an overnight drink.

The quality and style of sake is largely determined by the amount of rice milling, rather than what kind of rice (though the latter is important). Signs such as ginjo and daiginjo indicate that rice grains have been milled to at least 50 to 60 percent of their original size. Usually, more grinding creates more fragrances, aromas, and premium.

For wine lovers, grape varieties and planting conditions tend to define the style of the wine, so thinking about variables such as milling requires different ways of thinking. To help drinkers understand sake, Japan focuses on education. In 2014, for example, Japan’s financial support led the British wine and spirits education foundation (WSET) to introduce a class of sake education, which is comparable to wine and spirits.

“Education is really up,” says Beau Timken, whose San Francisco store, True Sake, has sold more than a million bottles since it opened 15 years ago. “Now we are at this turning point where people can distinguish between good and bad, and this is huge. Americans used to think of wine as sake.

Other efforts are direct marketing 101: for example, for sommeliers and shopkeepers such as timken to subsidize brewery visits. Some of the Japanese government’s activities are more subtle, but it is a small trick to illustrate the cultural significance of the sake.

Tim Sullivan posted a blog about sake on his website, Urbansake.com, and served as a brand ambassador for the sake maker Hakkaisan, who returned after studying and working in a brewery in October last year. He was the first foreigner visa to work in the brewery in cultural activities, rather than a work or business visa, where brewing wine and at the same level like martial arts, respect of activity, the flowers (flower), and calligraphy.

Japanese food is often treated like this. “In 2013, Japanese cuisine was declared a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage,” Sullivan said. “This is a milestone in the promotion of sake, as sake has always been in keeping with Japanese cuisine, and the first time most americans have access to quality sake is in Japanese restaurants.”

USA: Japan’s largest market.

Americans respond well to their tastes. Over the past 15 years, Japanese wine exports have grown by an average of 10 percent a year over the past 15 years (excluding those caused by the 2009 recession), and the market is worth $140 million in 2016. A third of them are about to arrive in the us, Japan’s biggest export market.

Toshio Ueno, a business development manager at the sake importers Mutual Trading, and a certified WSET lecturer, said he expected the support to continue until at least the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Japan’s winemakers, according to uano, can readily accept the American market’s preference for premium rather than cheap forms.

A worker at the Hakkaisan brewery in Japan decided that there was no mass in the rice from the steamer.

In this high-end category, pure wheat sake – pure rice, not fortified with neutral beer – is dominant in a way that is not available in Japan. “I think americans are purer, so they don’t like fortifications,” he said. “People believe that junmai is pure, so it’s better for you, but in Japan, fortified cheese is more popular because they give you a crisp, dry taste.”

The next area of expansion, Mr. Sullivan says, is to bring pure Japanese background to Japan and match it with non-japanese food. In fact, when I met Sullivan in November last year, I used pizza for sake. “The acidity of the wine is a third of the wine, but it’s lactic acid (the acid in dairy products), so the cheese and the sake make a natural pairing,” Sullivan says. In this case, the Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo (the rice milling to 60% of its original size or less pure rice wine) and equipped with fontina Brussels sprouts and cheese pizza collocation when used to drink very well. Hakkaisan is just a brewery that is breaking the scene at a Japanese restaurant. The result has been in places like Nashville’s Catbird Seat, a non-japanese restaurant featured by its new American cuisine.

However, the government’s plan can only be achieved if there are no winemakers to invest in overseas markets themselves. “Dassai is a good example of how to be an exporter,” says timken. “The son of one of the company’s founders… Go to New York, put your boots on the ground, go to the restaurant, education people about Dassai and put them in the portfolio.

Other breweries are following this pattern, but timken says a traditional restraint on “stoicism” has slowed some progress. For example, this is reflected in the list tag: beautiful, but for non-japanese people, it is often hard to understand and hard to remember. For some breweries, throwing away a centuries-old label could be a huge sacrifice. Both timken and Sullivan say this has slowed the leap from restaurant to retail, where label recognition is key.

Wine has more than 30 American wine importers Vine Connections to promote cooperation with beer on the label to add the name of the poetry translation, leading to creative brands such as the bride of “fox”, “the hawk in heaven”, “” and” wandering poet “. Even large Japanese companies, such as Mutual Trading Company, which imports about 200 different wines, now have names like “cowboy” and “Square One” and more traditional names such as chrysanthemum and jade ik.

Japan’s changing economy.

Exports are crucial for most small and medium-sized breweries. It may be “the quintessence of the state,” as the company describes it, but in Japan there is still a dearth of beer and alcohol in sales. There is a deeper problem: “in Japan, the whole economic and social situation is changing because the younger generation is shrinking,” Mr. Uano said. In the face of shrinking markets and Labour, sake brewers are more dependent on foreign markets for growth.

For Dassai, this means not just visiting and developing markets, but taking root. In December, the company announced a new partnership with the American culinary institute and a brewery near Hyde park campus in New York. By 2019, when Dassai is brewing, Japan’s “essence” will flow into the Hudson River.

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