Pointers for Selling Japanese Sake in 2017

By Yuji Matsumoto

Happy New Year!  I plan to work hard again this year to provide information that will help make Japanese sake an even more familiar alcoholic drink to have during a meal for your customers and for you.

For this issue I have put together pointers for restaurants and retail stores to sell Japanese sake and also important points for distributors in differentiation.
-- Grasp what customers like and offer the appropriate Japanese sake.
 You will be able to do this by asking customers what type of alcohol and favorite wine(s) they drink regularly.  For instance, for someone who likes bourbon, you can offer a junmai type that is prepared in a cask etc. 
-- For the Japanese sake menu, instead of dividing it into specific class sakes (Daiginjo, Ginjo, Honjozo etc), divide it into taste types and food(s) it matches with.
It is not ideal to have a menu with specific names that do not describe the taste or aroma at all.  It is important to taste test and with your judgment, create a menu that matches the taste of sake with the dish.
-- Offer cross merchandising with seasonal foods that can be used also by retailer stores.
Always point out Japanese sakes that are compatible with the daily dish (food item).
-- The sake cup; it is no exaggeration to say that it is the 'most important thing in drinking' especially for Ginjo types that have aromas.
Unfortunately there are very few "Japanese type" cups that are suitable with Ginjo type Japanese sakes with aroma, but we think it is a good idea to offer the first drink in a small white wine class as a taste testing for the customers.
-- It is important to provide information of beliefs and concerns about sake making in the brewery.
Distributors and head of breweries need to provide more information of their products to differentiate from competitors. Be clear in pointing out the characteristics of your sake and the taste you are aiming for in comparison with other companies and the business market.