As intensifying competition among alcoholic beverages has led to a slowdown in the demand for sake, the sake industry has faced challenges for development of new strains of rice and collaboration with agriculture for quality improvement, as well as establishment of a value chain which contributes to export expansion. Innovations, such as the sophistication of sake-brewing rice production system, cooperation with other sake breweries, and business innovation by small-to-medium-size brewers have enhanced the competitiveness of local communities and the utilization of community resources. Since the sake or wine brewing industry is inseparably tied with regional land conditions and resources, the formation of terroir can be easily stimulated.
Owing to significant changes in the industrial organization, sake breweries have adopted strategies to produce higher quality sake, such as jummai-shu and daiginjo-shu, as well as to improve the rice-polishing ratio of sake-brewing rice in order to cope with the slackening demand for sake. Accordingly the production of sake-brewing rice has increased, and reduction of distribution costs and improvements of production efficiency have been achieved with the cooperation of large-scale producers. Competitiveness of Nada City (Hyogo Prefecture) and Fushimi City (Kyoto Prefecture) where major sake breweries are concentrated has diminished due to a retail price war, while Yamaguchi Prefecture has intensified competitiveness with high-quality products and export expansion. Product differentiation and network expansion led by young entrepreneurs with experienced master sake brewers have opened up opportunities for management innovations. Furthermore, deepening cooperation between sake brewing business and agriculture has encouraged the formation of value chain which benefits both parties.
Liquor and wine channels have been revolutionizing for 25 years in Japan. It depends on the relaxation of regulation which permit to sale liquor. Big chain store was able to sale and discount it, so most personal liquor shop had to be close by sluggish sales.But some personal liquor shops succeeded in changing special local sake shop. Local sake maker pleased to trade with them because they promote it hard and didn't discount any products. Local sake lovers come to such a shop in order to buy and drink special local sake. Now it is changing more. Most owner of special local sake shop is getting old. And little new person come in. So local sake maker is going to lose his sale channels near future. This report is about the key factors of rebuilding special local sake channels. It was considered by some successful maker's cases.
Tohoku Regional Agricultural Administration Office launched review meetings called “Japanese Sake Terroir Project in Tohoku”. They aimed to encourage production of sake brewing rice as well as sales and export of sake made from rice grown in Tohoku, a famous region for rice production and sake brewing. Rice farmers, sake breweries, and producer’s groups from some prefectures in the Tohoku region participated in the meetings to share information on the development of new strains of rice, distribution channels, and cooperation between rice producers and sake brewing manufacturers. The formation of the terroir is expected through deepening of the cooperation and expansion of high quality products.