To avoid being on the “losing team”

By Yuji Matsumoto

This is a trend I’ve recently noticed in the last two to three years, but I’ve noticed a widening division between the winning vs. losing brands of sake and shochu.

The reason is as follows:
- While the economy is slowly recovering, customers are still reluctant to loosen their purse strings
- The selling products vs. those that don’t are clear at the storefront
- At restaurants, labor costs (next year, the minimum wage will increase), food ingredients, and especially variable costs for fish and seafood, and fixed rental fees are increasing while the cash flow is tight.

Especially on site, because the retention time directly influences the cash flow, future tasks includes how to increase merchandise turnover.

While there is no problem as long as the merchandise is turning over, it’s likely that restaurants are considering that perhaps, it’s better to rotate cheap Japanese sake (if not, it’s a dangerous sign) rather than having expensive Japanese sake worth 500 dollars sit in storage (with a retention period of 2~3 weeks).

What must the sake and shochu industry do in order to remain competitive “winners” in the industry?

-Are you effectively communicating and impressing the quality of your products to customers?

This is the first consideration to be made. The use of materials and verbal communication does not necessarily equate to effective understanding by customers.

For example, do you offer limited promotions?

On site, table tents and creating new menus require already limited time and manpower, with very few restaurants actually able to make such offers. Thus, help from sake manufacturers and wholesalers are greatly appreciated by onsite staff.

Also, more involvement in staff training and study sessions are helpful. To make sure your company brand won’t be one of the ‘losing’ brands, I feel it’s becoming even more important for both sake manufacturers and their wholesalers to place more effort into sales strategies.



- 景気は若干回復はしているものの依然消費者の財布の紐はかたい
- 現場で売れ筋の商品と売れない商品がはっきりとしてきている
- レストランでは、人件費(来年はさらに最低時給があがる)、素材、特に鮮魚類の価格などの変動費、レントなどの固定費も上昇でキャッシュフローがタイトであることがあげられる。