Japanese sake brewers seek direct deals in Myanmar

A group of Japanese sake manufacturers recently promoted their country’s famous rice wine in Myanmar, introducing different flavours of the alcoholic beverage.

About 10 manufacturers exhibited a total of 26 sake brands during the two-day sake promotion event in late February at Chatrium Hotel in Myanmar’s commercial city Yangon.

The direct marketing campaign was organised by Japan’s Sake Export Association and Yangon-based Asia Business Solutions Co. with the support of the Japan External Trade Organization, Japan’s governmental trade promotion body.

To encourage and support local production, the Myanmar government banned liquor imports in the mid-1990s and many retailers had acquired the drinks through connections with the hotel industry or on the black market until the government permitted wine imports in 2015.

Haruo Matsuzaki, chairman of the Sake Export Association, told NNA that Japanese sake makers want to grab an opportunity to enter the Myanmar market as the country gradually liberalises restrictions on liquor imports.

“Japanese cuisine and sake is quite trendy. not only in Asia but also worldwide,” Matsuzaki said. “We would like to introduce specific sake (brands) to the Myanmar market as we would like Myanmar people to enjoy and discover the new joy of sake.”

Aiming to increase the presence of Japanese sake overseas, the association was founded in 1997 by sake brewers nationwide and it has 25 members.

Nay Linn, chairman of the Myanmar Restaurant Association, said he hopes that meeting with sake brewers will bring direct deals with local restaurant owners, and help the latter avoid running out of stock.

“Here, we mostly procure sake from a small number of individual importers or indirect import through neighbouring countries like Thailand and Singapore. So, it’s a great opportunity for us to meet directly with the Japanese sake manufacturers,” he said.

According to the data from the restaurant association, there are 150 to 200 Japanese restaurants throughout the country.

Source : Myanmar Times

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