- 14 Mar 2002
- Reaction score
Good news for sake lovers: France embraces Japanese sake as a match for lighter modern cuisine.
Japanese sake is having a moment in wine-loving France, as sommeliers and vintners expand their horizons in response to changing culinary trends. The fifth annual Kura Master sake competition took place in Paris last month, drawing 960 entries, 136 more than in 2020, even with the coronavirus pandemic still looming over the event. Kura Master is shaping up to be among the most influential sake contests outside Japan, after the sake division of the International Wine Challenge in the U.K. [...]
Japan exported about 24.1 billion yen ($218 million) worth of sake in 2020, National Tax Agency data shows, marking an 11th straight year of growth. Roughly 70% went to the top three export destinations of Hong Kong, China and the U.S. France, meanwhile, has been a fast-growing market, more than doubling over the past decade -- a trend welcomed by the industry as Japanese consumption stagnates. Among the biggest names to gain a foothold in France is Asahi Shuzo, the brewer behind the premium Dassai brand.
Wakaze, an "experimental" brewery based in Japan's Yamagata Prefecture, chose Paris as the base for its global expansion. The company set up a second location in the French capital in 2019, making sake with rice from Camargue in the south of France that is aged in barrels built with local materials.