Awamori shipments decrease for 6 consecutive years

March 24, 2011. Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Awamori Distillers Association, headed by Takeshi Sakumoto, announced figures on shipments of Awamori for 2010 on March 20.

Total shipment quantity of 22180 kiloliters was down 5.2% on the previous year, the sixth consecutive annual decrease. This represents 80% of that for 2004, when the shipment figures reached their peak.

While shipments to other prefectures dropped markedly by 8.8%, shipments within the prefecture also dropped by 4.5%. In 2010, shipments within the prefecture totaled 18658 kiloliters, 87% of the 2004 peak figure, with those to other prefectures amounting to 3522 kiloliters, 56% of the peak.

The Okinawa Awamori Distillers Association pointed out that the nationwide shochu (distilled spirit) boom has slowed down and that old vintages have become rather expensive due to deflation. This, combined with the falling population and the fact that young people’s tastes are moving away from alcoholic beverages, has caused a nationwide decline in Awamori shipments.

Kenji Shikina, vice-president of the Association, suggests that the reason for the decline lies in the fact that more people in other prefectures are now seeking to buy cheap but good quality alcoholic beverages, something which runs counter to the strategy of adding high value on old vintages. He added, “Awamori is well-known in other prefectures. We have to be patient for a while and do our best to boost its popularity.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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