Will the Global Expansion of Hakkaisan Expand Sake Culture? What is “SAKE” with hops born in the U.S.?

Good evening. Today’s article is about sake.


Selling Sake Abroad: The Trend to Sell Sake Abroad Against this backdrop, and also as part of the Cool Japan strategy, there is a growing trend to sell sake overseas. The volume and value of sake exports have been increasing steadily over the past 10 years, despite a decline during the Corona period. The share of sake exports in total sake shipments has risen to 8.2%.

While it is true that domestic sake sales are declining, the situation is a bit more complicated. Domestic shipments (sales volume) peaked in 1973 at over 1.7 million kiloliters. Currently, it is 403,000 kiloliters, less than a quarter of that amount.

The first company that comes to mind when one thinks of the “sake overseas” movement is Asahi Shuzo, famous for its Otters. In 2018, the company opened the “Dassai Joel Robuchon” complex in Paris, which also offers French pairings. At the same time, the sake brewery in New York, which has been under construction, was finally completed in March 2023 across the Corona Disaster. DASSAI BLUE, a junmai ginjo sake, will soon be available for sale.


There are also examples of breweries started by locals abroad: “Brooklyn Kula” in New York is a brewery that started in 2018. The bearers are two Americans, Brian Pollen and Brandon Dorn. They opened a brewery in a renovated warehouse with a “taproom” where visitors can taste the brew on the spot in a corner with trendy stores and restaurants.  The sake brewed with Japonica rice from California, water from the Catskills in the mountains of New York State, and yeast from Japan is sold under the name “Craft Sake BROOKLYN KURA.


Brooklyn Kura and Hakkai Jozo, a Japanese sake manufacturer, have teamed up to create a new type of “SAKE. Note that this article uses the term “SAKE” because sake made overseas cannot legally be called “sake” under Japanese law.  Hakkai Brewery was founded in 1922 in Minamiuonuma City, Niigata Prefecture, and as a latecomer to the local market, sought sales channels in the Kanto region and eventually expanded nationwide. Its signature product, Hakkaisan, is a major sake available at convenience stores. Hakkaizyozo, which manufactures the sake, and Hakkaisan Corporation, which sells it wholesale, make up the Hakkaizyozo Group, with Hakkaizyozo’s sales totaling approximately 6 billion yen (as of August 2021).


To purchase Otter and Hakkaisan for export to other countries, please contact


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