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U.S.-made sake hit shelves in Japan

                                Dassai Blue sake, produced in the U.S., is now for sale in Japan.
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Dassai Blue sake, produced in the U.S., is now for sale in Japan.

TOKYO >> In April, Japanese sake manufacturer Asahi Shuzo Co., known for its flagship Dassai sake, released Dassai Blue in Japan. The release is notable because the special Junmai Daiginjo sake is produced at a brewery in the United States.

The Iwakuni, Yamaguchi prefecture-based company opened its first overseas brewery in New York in 2023 as part of its efforts to expand sales.

High-grade Yamadanishiki sake rice, grown in Japan, is used to brew the product, which is 14% alcohol by volume, slightly lower than the company’s other sake and about the same as wine. As a result, the sake has a light, sweet flavor.

The product has been available at U.S. restaurants and in liquor stores since September.

“We aimed to produce sake that tastes good even when paired with foods different from those in Japan,” said President Kazuhiro Sakurai. “Wine and Champagne are our rivals.”

Two versions of the sake are on shelves in Japan. A 720-milliliter (24-ounce) bottle made with rice polished down to 50% of the original grain size is priced at 3,800 yen ($24.40); another variety using rice polished down to 23% is priced at 10,000 yen.

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