From new whiskies and qualitative craft gin to shochu twisted for cocktails, Japanese bitters, vermouth and more, Japanese spirits are expected to be more and more visible on word’s bars shelves.
On the other hand, imported spirits are mostly driven by the fast and unprecedented growth of mainstream whisky. Jim Beam, Dewar’s and White Horse have fueled the highball boom and are now available in all casual izakaya.
But the spirits market in Japan still has plenty of room to grow. Currently, our beloved Irish whiskey category represents only 0.2% of the market (but is showing signs of taking off!), while gin is still growing and mezcal, pisco and craft vermouth remain largely unheard of. The value for craft brands is huge: Japan represents the largest market in Asia – but there are few low-hanging fruits here and entry is not always easy. In Japan, the winners are those with the best market and consumer insights, and a disciplined, humble and resilient approach.