Shipments of Awamori slide for 10th consecutive year

June 25, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On June 24, The Okinawa Regional Taxation Office released taxation figures on alcoholic beverages shipped by breweries in Okinawa Prefecture during fiscal 2014. Shipments of all alcoholic beverages declined 4.0% over the year to 71,258 kiloliters, generating 10.53 billion yen in tax, also down 4.0 percent, it said.

Shipments of and tax collected from Awamori declined for the 10th consecutive year, while those figures for beer saw a slight increase. Awamori’s decline was more notable in shipments to the Okinawan market than to the rest of Japan.

Beer shipments grew to 23,557 kiloliters, up 0.2 percent, generating 4.274 billion yen in tax, up 0.3%, in the third consecutive year of growth in both categories.

In contrast, Awamori shipments went down to 20,190 kiloliters, down 6.4 percent, generating 4.056 billion yen in tax, down 6.7 percent. Shipments of and tax collected from Awamori peaked in 2004. Of the total, shipments to the Okinawa market were down 6.8 percent to 15,782 kiloliters and those to other parts of Japan decreased by 5.1 percent to 4,409 kiloliters. Shipments to Okinawa declined for the ninth year and shipments to other parts of Japan declined two years in a row.

Shipments of other alcoholic drinks, such as happoshu, or low-malt beer, sake and liqueur went down 5.6 percent to 27,511 kiloliters to generate 2.2 billion yen in tax, down 6.6 percent. This was the first decline in two years.

Shipments of all alcoholic beverages, at 71,258 kiloliters, roughly equal nine and a half times the giant water tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Their shipments and tax peaked in 2004 and continue to decline, except for an increase seen in fiscal 2013.

Due partly to the decreasing population, alcohol consumption continues to shrink nationwide. In addition, as with other parts of Japan, tastes of local young people seem to be moving away from alcoholic drinks in general.

(English Translation by T&CT and Scott Murphy)

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