Major wine trader Enoteca of Japan tapping sake market in China

26, May. 2020

Photo by Tom Crew on Unsplash
Photo by Tom Crew on Unsplash

TOKYO, NNA - Major Japanese wine trader Enoteca Co. will start selling sake, Japanese rice wine, in China from June in a bid to cash in on growing demand for the traditional drink that goes well with popular Japanese cuisine.

The company will take on local sales of sake supplied by Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery, a nearly 400-year-old maker in the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa, across the country through directly-run shops and a local distributor, it said last Friday.

Enoteca’s first sales of sake in foreign markets comes after Enoteca Shanghai Co., its trading unit, had a good response from trial sales from February despite short operating hours by retailers amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, it said in a statement.

The local arm, which sealed an exclusive distribution deal in China with Fukumitsuya last December, will offer 49 brands among the sake brewery’s lineup via its eight outlets, while shipping them via the local partner to prime Japanese restaurants in Shanghai, an Enoteca spokeswoman told NNA on Monday.

Japan’s sake exports to China were valued at 23.4 billion yen ($217 million) last year, a twofold surge from 2014, according to the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, an industry body.

The Tokyo-based wine trader, a 100 percent subsidiary since 2015 of Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., a major Japanese brewer and beverage maker, runs wine shops in other overseas markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.