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Food & Beverage

Japan's distillers pour into foreign markets with shochu

Drinks companies on prowl for new opportunities as home market shrinks

Japanese shochu makers are trying to carve out a market overseas as they face a shrinking pool of drinkers at home. (Photo courtesy of Hamadasyuzou) 

TOKYO -- Japan's shochu makers are working to gain a foothold in overseas markets as they grapple with a shrinking population at home.

Shochu, a traditional distilled liquor, is typically made from grain or potatoes. Distillers have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but their main long-term challenge -- a declining domestic market -- predates the spread of COVID-19.

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