A new opportunity for overseas expansion of sake !? Sake brewing challenged by a man from Taiwan April 21, 17:13

A man who came to Japan as an international student from Taiwan 14 years ago opened a sake brewery in Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture last year.

The dream of "I want to make delicious sake with my own hands"

was supported by the new sake brewing license system established by the government.

As we proceeded with the interviews, we saw new possibilities for sake, which continues to be sluggish in Japan.

Sake that you can't drink in Japan?

On the day I visited the sake brewery in Izumo City in January, the first squeezing was done at the sake brewery.

The sweet scent unique to new sake floating in the brewery makes me wonder about its taste.

I found a surprising fact when I wanted to check it.

Actually, this cannot be drunk in Japan.

This is because it is an "export-only liquor" that is not sold in Japan.

Mr. Chen

"I think it's a wonderful sake for the first time because it has a good aroma and taste. Taiwanese vendors want all the sake as much as possible."

That's what Mr. Chen Inin, the owner of this sake brewery, is from Taiwan.

Foreigners are making sake in Japan for export to overseas ...

What exactly does this mean?

A sake brewing license that prevents the "dream" found while studying abroad

The key to solving the mystery was Mr. Chen's history and his license to make sake.

Mr. Chen studied abroad at Shimane University 14 years ago.

He was studying abroad to study Japanese mythology, but he was more enthusiastic than mythology.

That was sake.

Mr. Chen

"The aroma and the depth of the taste are completely different from the sake I have drank. It was a moving word."

After graduating from university, Mr. Chen jumped into the path of sake brewing without returning to Japan.

First, you will learn the basics of sake brewing at Asahi Shuzo in Yamaguchi Prefecture, which is famous for the "Daisai".

After that, he went to sake breweries all over Shimane prefecture and continued to hone his skills for more than 10 years.

When he was working for a sake brewery that was focusing on overseas expansion, he was entrusted with brewing sake for export.

His skill has reached the point of receiving many awards, mainly in Europe and the United States such as France and the United States.

As the skill of sake brewing is evaluated and gains confidence, a new feeling grows in Mr. Chen's heart.

It was the Japanese brewing license system that stood in front of Mr. Chen, who

"wants to pursue the ideal taste in his own brewery, not hired ."

The country hasn't issued a new brewing license for more than 50 years.

One of the reasons is the decline in domestic consumption of sake.

The peak is about 1,675,000 kiloliters around 1975.

By 2020, that has been reduced to about a quarter.

As consumption continues to decline, the country has protected domestic sake breweries by not issuing new licenses.

In addition, it is stipulated that at least 60,000 liters must be produced annually in order to obtain a brewing license, which has prevented the brewery from rushing and collapsing together.

However, it is said that it costs at least 20 million yen to make 60,000 liters of sake with only the cost of raw materials such as rice.

There is a risk of taking a big risk from the beginning, and for Mr. Chen, the new entry into Japanese sake brewing was a dream again.

"Sake fever" growing overseas is a boost

Sake whose domestic consumption is declining.

However, looking overseas, the situation is completely different.

As "Japanese food" has been registered as an intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO, the popularity of sake overseas has skyrocketed.

According to the National Tax Agency's summary, the export value has continued to reach a record high, exceeding 40 billion yen in 2021, and has quadrupled in about 10 years.

With the growing popularity of sake overseas, Mr. Chen will have a turning point.

Last April, the government established a new license called "Sake Manufacturing License for Export", which is limited to exports.

Mr. Chen is the first foreigner to obtain this license.

Taking one letter each from the hometown "Taiwan" and "Izumo", we launched the long-sought "Taikumo Sake Brewery".

The new license also removes the minimum annual limit of 60,000 liters, eliminating the significant risk of raw material costs from the beginning.

Mr. Chen

"Until now, most people have given up on new entry due to the license system, but I am happy that I can get a new license and make my own ideal sake brewing."

Aiming for the ideal sake Chen's strategy is

Mr. Chen, who started his own brewery, has a "strategy" for making sake for export.

Mr. Chen, who works for a sake brewery that has been focusing on overseas expansion and has won many awards overseas, is familiar with the tastes of each country.

He wants to make sake with a taste that suits the country or region.

Mr. Chen

"When it comes to Europe and the United States, I like sake with a rich taste, because the culture of wine is deeply rooted."

So I prepared 4 tanks.

By changing the fermentation temperature and period little by little, we have made it possible to express subtle differences in taste.

Since the opening of the sake brewery, Taiwan has been the first export destination.

Taiwanese people want sake with a strong aroma and sweetness.

Therefore, Mr. Chen checks the tank every day and measures the sugar content and alcohol content.

It is the temperature of the brew that determines the sweetness of sake.

Mr. Chen says he pays close attention to temperature control.

And the first finished sake.

I can't drink it in Japan, so when I asked Mr. Chen how it was done, he said it was "sweet like Taiwan pineapple."

Taiwan pineapple is a sweet fruit with a sugar content of about 17 degrees.

It seems that the taste was exactly what Mr. Chen intended, and we are planning to export 3,500 bottles to Taiwan by May.

Mr. Chen

"I want to aim for a sake brewery that is said to be" all delicious "by the export destination. I want to continue making sake that fans demand."

Mr. Chen wants to expand the sales channel of sake not only in Taiwan but also in the United States and Europe.

The future of sake is ...

What will happen to the future of sake with the new license system?

Tatsuya Ishida of the JETRO Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Food Department points out that it may be an opportunity to boost the sake industry.

JETRO Ishida

Chief "As the consumption of sake is steadily declining, overseas is very important as a new market. The main point of this license system is that it can be produced in small quantities, and a variety of core overseas fans. It has become possible to meet the needs. It can be said that the existing license system has opened the way for sake brewing for those who have given up on new entrants, and it can be a catalyst for the excitement of sake. Have sex "

And I have high expectations for the existence of foreigners like Mr. Chen.

Mr. Ishida

"I think that" diversity "will become the keyword when sake goes abroad in the future. At that time, it is possible for foreigners like Mr. Chen to make sake from an original perspective. Isn't it possible to export sake that is full of Japanese sake overseas? "

Mr. Chen says he wants to grow his brewery into one of the bases connecting Shimane Prefecture and Taiwan in the future.

In the future, I would like to guide Izumo to tourists who like sake from overseas and have them tour the sake brewery.

Sake is also the culture of the country.

With the consumption of sake slumping, I would like to pay attention to whether the new license system and the existence like Mr. Chen will be one of the triggers to boost the sake industry.

Matsue Broadcasting Station Reporter

Daisuke Sato

Joined in 2nd year

Matsue Station is in charge of police and justice at the starting place


He is carrying