Japan has long been a leading player in the global whiskey, sake and beer markets. However, as more consumers become interested in specialty drinks and premium products, Japan’s alcohol exports are reaching new heights.
The country’s alcohol exports passed a milestone in 2021 by surpassing the ¥100 billion mark for the time, fueled by strong demand for its sake and whisky led by its number one export destination – China.
During the year, Japan’s alcoholic drinks exports totaled ¥114.6 billion (US$801 million), up by 61.4% over the previous year, according to data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance.
Sake and whisky made up the lion’s share of exports, accounting for over 70% of the total, with the rest being gin, vodka, and wine.
The biggest buyer of Japanese alcoholic beverage last year is its Asian neighbor China, which in 2021 imported over ¥30 billion (US$209.4 million) worth of Japanese drinks. Despite China’s overriding downward trend in wine and spirits imports, Japan’s high end sake and whisky continue to attract the country’s expanding urban population.
Japanese sake exports to China during the year amounted to over ¥10 billion, ahead of the US and Hong Kong. It’s worthy to note that the main exporters of the Japanese rice wine are predominately located in Asia Pacific region, and its development in Europe is still a challenge, says the country’s National Tax Agency.
Behind China, the US ranks as Japan’s second biggest alcohol export market, followed by Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Singapore, Australia, Netherlands, South Korea and Macau.