Naha company starts direct export of awamori to U.S.
Okinawa Products Associated Co. Ltd., a Naha based trader of agricultural foods, is starting to export awamori directly to the U.S., the first time a local company is exporting the Okinawan tipple to the U.S. without going though a trading company in mainland Japan.
To start with, Okinawa Products Associated is exporting four brands of awamori from Okinawa Sake Makers Association, Ishikawa Shuzojo, and Kumesen Shuzo. The first export lot will be 3,800 bottles or 340 cases of Awamori in a container to California, where it will be sold to Japanese restaurants.
The importer and marketing company in the U.S. is Okinawa Blue Oceans Food LLC in Irwin, CA, that works to distribute and promote awamori in the U.S.
The California company has conducted tasting and promotion sessions in California for a year, and the four brands in the first shipment were picked up based on the results of the tasting sessions. They are Nanpu 43% alcohol of Okinawa Sake Makers Association, “Shimakaze 20% of Ishikawa Shuzojo, Kusu Kamejikomi 24% of Ishikawa Shuzoujo and Kyouten Black 35% of Kumesen Shuzo.
The company is thinking about increasing the number of brands in the future after seeing the results of the first shipment.