Fukushima opens shop in N.Y. to promote “sake” rice wine

The Fukushima prefectural government opened a temporary pilot shop in New York on Dec. 1 to boost name recognition of locally produced “sake” rice wines and increase their sales in the United States. Dubbed “Fukushima’s SAKE Challenge Shop,” the store is located in a commercial facility in Manhattan. At a ceremony marking its launch, about 20 people attended, including trading company officials and those from the facility. “We would like to send out information to New Yorkers about the attractiveness of Fukushima-brewed sake,” Yasuji Miyamura , head of the prefectural government’s tourism and exchange bureau, told the ceremony as he proposed a toast. Visitors enjoyed a wide variety of sake brands, including comparing the taste. The shop offers 50 brands supplied by 11 Fukushima brewers working to export sake to the U.S. market. Set to operate until early March next year, it will publicize the high quality, profound taste and safety of Fukushima sake. The United States has seen sake consumption growing year after year amid rising popularity of “washoku” Japanese cuisine, taking in some 50% of sake exports from Fukushima. The prefecture intends to assist local brewers in boosting their U.S. sales, making a pitch for them through the shop on the back of its established reputation as a leading sake-producing region in Japan. For the sixth straight year, Fukushima won more golds than any other competitor among Japan’s 47 prefectures at the 2018 “Annual Japan Sake Awards” national competition for newly brewed sake. (Translated by Kyodo News)