Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS


Record-High Growth in Sake Export Value and Volume in 2021

The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (as referred to as JSS below) is excited to announce the exponential growth of sake export for the 2021 calendar year. The total value of sake export reached 401.78 million JPY, achieving a record-high for the 12th consecutive year. In addition, the total volume of sake export also reached a record-high of 32,053 KL (Trade Statistics of Japan).

When compared by country, China provided the highest total value of export and the USA provided the highest total volume of export. In addition, France held the highest percentage of growth in both total value and volume in 2021.

Overall, the average export price per liter has doubled when compared to 10 years prior with trends showing increased popularity and export of premium sake of a higher price range.

Sake Export Trend (Value/Volume)

Sake Export Comparison Data (Value/Volume)

Trade Statistics of Japan

Significant Findings of the Record-High Reaching Year of 2021

In 2021, the total value of export reached 401.78 million JPY (166.4% increase year-over-year), while the total volume of export reached 32,053 KL (147.3% increase year-over-year). This record-high growth of the total value and volume of sake export can be attributed to the following factors.

Point 1
With the gradual economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, exports to America, China, Hong Kong, and Europe experienced rapid growth. Many restaurants were able to reopen for business which led to an increase in orders of sake.

Point 2
The heightened focus on Japan received through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics created an increased interest in drinking sake at Japanese-style ‘Izakaya’ restaurants in Asian regions.

Point 3
An increase in E-commerce sales of sake in overseas countries.

Point 4
An increase in popularity of premium higher-range sake.

Despite the exponential growth of sake export in 2021, the industry has faced certain challenges. Such challenges include export restrictions from certain areas of Japan to China and the worldwide shortage of shipping containers. By gradually providing a solution to these issues, sake export can be forecasted to further increase.

Record-High Statistics of China, America, and France

China provided the highest total value of sake export with a total of 102.79 million JPY (177.5% increase year-over-year). This increase can be attributed to the growth in popularity of sake within younger generations and the upper class. Sake is considered high-quality alcohol, and trends of buying sake online to bring and enjoy when dining out at restaurants, bring-your-own-bottle style (BYOB) can be seen.

The USA provided the highest total volume of sake export with a total of 8,826 KL (167.5% increase year-over-year). The USA has continued to hold the record for the most volume of sake export for 14 consecutive years.

France recorded the highest percentage of growth in both total value and volume with a 230.3% increase in value and a 197.5% increase in volume compared to the previous year. The United Kingdom has continued to lead the European market in sake export until 2021, as France exceeded the United Kingdom for the first time in both export value and volume. This growth can be attributed to the increase in the recognition of sake due to advancements in promotional activities within the country. These include the partnership between JSS and the French Sommelier Association (Union de la Sommellerie Française) in 2020, the introduction of sake for the first time in the final round of the Best Sommelier of France competition in May 2021, and the increased branding and educational activities provided to leading sommeliers in the gastronomy field.

Comparison by Country (Value)

Unit: Million JPY / %

Comparison by Country (Volume)

Unit: KL / %

New Sake Export Trend of ‘Premium’ Sake

A significant trend that can be seen in recent years is the increase in the export price of sake per liter. When compared to the export price of 625.9 JPY in 2011, the price has more than doubled to 1253.5 JPY in 2021. In Hong Kong, the price has tripled.

This trend can be attributed to a variety of factors that include advancements in refrigerated shipping management that have ensured the preservation of original quality when distributing daiginjo, ginjo, and junmai sake. However, more importantly, the reconditioned overall perception of the sake culture from a traditional alcohol that is commonly drunk warmed to one that can also be enjoyed chilled in a wine glass has played a significant role. Sake is now more widely recognized overseas as a versatile drink that has paved the way for a new market that accepts sake as a high-quality drink.

Sake Export Value per 1L Comparison

Unit: JPY / %

Comment from JSS Director, Hitoshi Utsunomiya

I truly feel that the global sake fanbase is expanding. On January 17th, 2022, Prime Minister Kishida stated “We will send out a message to the world about Japan’s appeal, including by working to have Japanese sake, shochu, awamori and the like registered with UNESCO as cultural resources.” in his policy speech to the 208th Session of the Diet.

We at JSS will strive to continue to promote the appeals and culture of Japanese sake and exhibit its sustainability to the world.

Comment from the JSS Information Center General Manager, Shuso Imada

Japanese sake has now achieved a recognition separate to that of wine, now in a league of its own and the international scene is a growing market for sake.

Movements are aimed to further develop the understanding and acceptance of sake within international consumers. Such movements include the clarification and further recognition of sake brands and production regions, introduction of organic-based sake, improvement of easier-to-understand sake labels, development of brewery facilities for regional tourism after the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions, and more.

This is a time in which the support of companies, regions, and Japan as a whole is vital. As the JSS Information Center, we will strive to continue to provide as much useful, beneficial, and educational information as possible to both domestic and international consumers and breweries.

Export Data Download

Trade of Sake Export 2011-2021

Sake Export Year-On-Year


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