Sake has been consumed in one capacity or another in Japan for the past 2,500 years, with brewery documentation going back about 1,000 years. The current climate of sake consumption and popularity is one of decline, and the national beverage of Japan is at a crossroads like no other time in its history. Young Japanese drinkers today consider sake their Father or Grandfather’s drink, preferring other alcohols, especially from foreign lands.
With all of these negatives, including the demise of 15-20 small breweries per year, what does the future for this ancient and honorable beverage hold? Is there optimism amongst the brewers – large and small? Will sake ever return to its days of record production levels – or even close?