Survey Reports

Exhibitors Market Saké and Shochu at JapanFest in Georgia, U.S.A.

Sep 17-18, 201

JapanFest 2011, an event that introduces Japan and things Japanese, was held on September 17-18 in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Saké brewers Kikusui from Shibata, Niigata Prefecture, and Chiyomusubi from Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, as well as the shochu maker Iki Distillery from Iki, Nagasaki Prefecture, set up exhibits to promote Japanese saké and shochu with their American importers and distributors.

JapanFest, that is held every September, is organized mainly by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, the Japan-America Society of Georgia, and the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta. In addition to showcasing aspects of Japanese culture such as music, anime, dance, martial arts, calligraphy, kimono and food from Japan, the event is a forum for TOTO USA, Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America, and other Japanese companies doing business in Georgia to carry out their own public relations. 2011 is the 25th year for the event, which has established itself as a major local tourist attraction, with this year’s attendance reaching 19,000.

Kikusui and Chiyomusubi breweries each participated for the first time. One staff member who was asked for product descriptions from many visitors remarked, “The scale is different from similar events in Japan. I did not expect this many visitors to gather at a Japan-themed event.” Iki Distillery participated for the second time, in a sequel to 2010, and sought to expand distribution of its Nadeshiko shochu made with flower yeast. They enthusiastically pitched the product during workshop presentations.

Although Japanese restaurants in the US are experiencing the impact of the recession, their numbers have not been decreasing. In fact, the number of Japanese restaurants in Georgia has been steadily increasing, from 106 in 2000, to 210 in 2005, and 422 in 2010, and chances to promote Japanese cuisine outside the high-consumption states such as New York and California are expanding. Japanese companies seeing business opportunities in this area are steadily developing their marketing activities.


Visitors show their interest in Japanese saké and shochu.