Sake is taking me to Hong-Kong…
2015 figures have shown the dynamic growth in exports of Japanese alcoholic beverages, which arguably start from a low base. According to the figures released by the National Tax Administration, they doubled in value and volume over the last 4 years, driven by nihonshu (sake) and whisky in particular, to reach Yen 30 bio (about Eur 295 mio).
Whisky now represents about 25% of such exports, and France became the second overseas market (Eur 17 mio), just behind the United Sates. I guess this will not surprise you, friends living in France! Figures do not allow me to determine what proportion gets re-exported to other European countries though (a large European importer in based in France).
Sake’s share of exports is about 35%. The United Sates remain the clear first destination (about 35%), followed by Hong-Kong (16%), Korea, China, Taiwan. France is still very far behind (about Eur 1mio), even if one takes into account part of the Eur 1 mio value of exports going to Holland first, before being re-exported to the French market.
So Hong-Kong has become the second largest export market for sake? I knew about the attraction of the best food products from the world for Hong-Kongese, who are real foodies. I was however quite surprised by the diversity and the quality of the selection of sake now available on the island. During October, with the exception of 4 large bottles in my suitcase, I did not export sake to Hong-Kong, but its culture. I was invited to host a sake training and team building session for the 50 staff members of a Hong-Kong based company: a conference supported by tasting, followed by a sake pairing diner. Thank you all for your warm welcome, the future of sake in HK looks bright indeed!