Japanese Sake beverage launched in India

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New Delhi : The Japanese embassy on Saturday organised Japan's traditional "Sake Festival" here to promote and launch the rice-based alcoholic beverage in India.

According to Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association, Sake has played a central role in Japanese life and culture for the past 2,000 years. Sake is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from rice, where Koji -- the micro organism -- becomes the heart of process in fermentation, it said.

"Rice shortages during World War II and the immediate post-war period forced brewers to find ways to fill the gap, like adding alcohol to the sake," the association said.

Speaking to the media, Kenji Hiramatsu, the Japanese Ambassador to the India, hoped that India would like the taste of Sake soon and make the traditional beverage popular here.

"Japan-India relationship has flourished to a great extent, ranging from economy to culture, ties between the peoples of the two countries have become stronger than ever before," said Hiramatsu.

The Japanese diplomat said that there are 1,500 breweries in their country with each producing different kind of Sake.

Overseas Operation Division Manager Hiromi Luchi said if the price of the premium Sake is 10 dollars in Japan, it would be 60 dollars in India.

"That is six times of the price...because taxes are too high," Luchi said, adding that in coming years the prices of the beverage might be affordable.

Luchi said Japan is exporting the beverages to more than 60 cities around the world. The biggest importers are the USA, China and Honk Kong, she said.