Originally drank to drive away evil spirits, around since the eight century sake has been to Japanese people what wine is for Italians: drank on a daily basis and paired up with different kinds of food, the alcoholic drink can be found in any Japanese household. In recent times though, the younger generation started to regard sake as “old-fashioned”, preferring more international drinks.
If on the one hand Japan fell out of love with its national alcoholic drink, on the other, the rest of the world started to get butterflies for it. While the number of sakagura —sake’s production houses— dramatically dropped in the past 30 years, sake exports doubled in the last decade with the US and South Korea being top consumers.
In Europe, in contrast with the demands of other major countries like the UK and Germany, the Italian sake market is still quite small. Moreover, differently from the consumption of culinary products like sushi and soy sauce, sake started only very recently to appeal to Italian palates.
In the wake of this increasing approval, in 2017 Vinitaly set up a specific “sake area” at their VinInternational pavillion. With producers from at least 10 different Japanese prefectures and importers like Sake Company, Veronafiere introduced Japan’s national drink to wine aficionados. Following this path, 5StarWines also opened its doors to sake with 5StarSake.