Awamori makers making overseas sales push

Category: [ Business ]

Blueship Okinawa, a consulting company in Naha, and three awamori distillery companies held a press conference Saturday, to announce a plan to expand sales of Ryukyu awamori in overseas markets.

The company presented a strategy to sell awamori as a base for cocktails for the first three years in order to create and image for awamori as a “hard liquor” like whisky or vodka.

Blueship Okinawa is promoting the awamori business with support from Okinawa International Hub Cluster Business of the Okinawa General Bureau. It’s cooperating with Chuko Awamori Distillery, Zuisen Distillery, and Kumesen in its effort. The work includes development of new cocktails based on awamori and trying to increase the recognition of awamori as hard liquor. The plans also include developing an awamori test product for the western markets and conducting a market survey in overseas restaurants as early as next summer.

Hirofumi Keimatsu, the CEO of Blueship, said at the press conference, “We would like to develop awamori products with advice from specialists and sell them in the U.S. and Europe.” Tsutomu Oshiro, the CEO of Chuko Awamori Distillery, said, “Hard liquors make the main part of the world liquor market. We would like to pursue marketing awamori as a drink with a very long history.”

The company is inviting five specialists from the U.S. and Europe to inspect local distilleries and for consultation. The manager in charge of the project of inviting the specialists told about attractiveness of awamori, “New and old awamori have different tastes, and we can enjoy both. Awamori is colorless and transparent like vodka, but has a rich and smooth taste of its own. It’s authentic taste is easy to recognize.”

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