Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saké Sunday: Popularity of Saké

The popularity of Saké continues to grow, which is definitely a good thing. A recent Times Magazine article explained the growing popularity with some interesting statistics.

The article states: "While the number of Japanese breweries (kura) has dropped to 1,800 (from 2,400) over the past two decades — and is expected to fall to 600 by 2025 — imported sake constitutes about 25% of the U.S. sake market by volume. Imports have risen from 10% to 15% a year for the past decade, and import volume in 2007 will be nearly twice what it was in 2002. Over the past five years, the average import cost of a liter has risen 30%, and the dollar value per case has tripled, to about $70, roughly $18 a bottle. "America is ultimately the market," says William Giles of Honolulu-based World Sake Imports. "America will influence the direction and variation in sake as it goes forward." Some importers expect the value of sake imports to double again in a little more than three years."

Just as wine consumption has continued to rise in the U.S., soon to make us the #1 consumer of wine, so has consumption of Saké risen. We have already seen the second all-Saké store open in the U.S. Numerous wine stores now carry extensive selections of Saké. That should only continue to increase over time. You will begin to see Saké on more and more wine lists.

So, I do recommend that you learn more about Saké. It is a wonderful beverage, with so much complexity. There are brands and styles of Saké that should appeal to most everyone. And now is the time to start your education about Saké, to see why it is becoming so popular.

But a bottle of Saké. Taste it. And tell me what you think.

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