Sake Report - A Look At Sake In The Mid-West
I like hearing from sake sellers across the country and encourage as many as I can to submit a little blurb in the Newsletter to track and keep our finger on the pulse of sake in the US. If you are in the biz and would like to shed a little light on the "sake scene" in your area either as a distributor, retailer, restaurateur etc I would love to share your sake senses with your fellow readers. The point is to validate all of this talk about the "sake boom" in the US from the ground up!
Herewith is a report by Tim Hallet a friend from Ohio. Tim is a sake drinker first. He is also a marketing and sales agent for The Marchetti Company - regional brokers for Ozeki Sake & The Jizake (JFC) and importers of fine wine & spirits (http://www.tmarchettico.com).
Here is Tim's look at the Ohio sake scene from a guy who is moving product to the people:
Sake Report - OHIO
This classic heartland state has over 100 brews available to Ohioans with the appetite - and sales numbers over the past few years suggest that few are going thirsty. Consumption trends are extremely positive. A benchmark brewery in the US sake market - Ozeki - has enjoyed a stunning 25% growth in case sales from 2006 to 2008. Though a large percentage of these gains are owed to Ozeki's traditional domestic sake and the vital role it plays in accompanying meals at Japanese restaurants across the state, imported, small production brands from Ozeki and innumerable micro breweries have gained a foothold as the number of ultra-premium brews available has nearly doubled over the past two years.
The greatest challenge facing sake's relationship to Ohio echoes a familiar theme in this newsletter - demystifying the beverage. Alas, you are unlikely to walk into a local bar or restaurant and find Ohio State fans toasting a victory with glasses of sake. As one might expect, high-end restaurants & bars have at the very least caught onto the coastal vogue of offering sake-tinis as a refreshing alternative to the saccharine bombs that litter their cocktail menus, but the humble beverage has yet to find its way to the table in restaurants solely featuring Western cuisine. There is room for hope, though. An increasing number of non-Asian restaurants find themselves hosting special sake tastings and dinners in an effort to add a fresh twist to their regular menus and entice curious clientele. These educational events can only bring closer the day that such establishments will discover the great depth sake can add to their wine lists and expression of their cuisine on a regular basis.
Feel free to email Tim with any questions or comments: tim @ tmarchettico.com.