TOKYO, March 21 — Japan’s largest farmers’ group has exported rice to the UK’s first Japanese-run sake brewery in the heart of the English countryside for the first time.
Sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink made of fermented rice.
A bold move came when Osaka-based Dojima Sake Brewery Co. opened its first UK facility to offer a taste of the traditional Japanese beverage at Fordham Abbey in Cambridgeshire.
The Japanese sake maker asked the National Federation of Agriculture Cooperative Association (ZEN-NOH), the marketing arm of JA group, to ship Japanese-grown rice to the new UK facility.
Test brewing is to start in April.
This is significant because there have already been some Japanese-run sake brewers overseas, but they use rice grown in the United States.
The ZEN-NOH announced on March 20 that its subsidiary, the ZEN-NOH International, shipped a total 4 metric tons of Japanese rice to the UK. It is estimated to produce about 9,500 liters of sake.
Japanese sake exports have continuously increased, marking an eighth consecutive year of growth in 2017, with major destinations the U.S. and Asian neighbors, such as South Korea and China.
Meanwhile, the UK, despite being the largest importer of Japanese sake in Europe, accounts for merely 1.7 percent of total exports.
The ZEN-NOH aims to expand rice exports with growing popularity of the traditional Japanese sake beverage in Europe.