Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first visit to Japan on December 15-16, 2016. At a dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the second day, the two leaders toasted with the Japanese sake Oriental Beauty, which met with Putin’s approval.
“As to hot springs, I have only managed to touch one hot spring, it’s the local sake. It's called Oriental Beauty,” Putin joked at a press conference following negotiations. “I highly recommend it, but I think one should know one’s limits, as we say in Russia,” the President said.
In less than a week, the brand of sake was completely sold out from all warehouses, the head of sake producing company “Sumikawa Shuzo”, Takafumi Sumikawa, told RIA Novosti.
“In total, we produce 20,000 bottles of ‘Oriental Beauty, First Standard’ a year. We did not know in advance that this brand would be served to the Russian President and were totally unprepared for such a reaction from buyers,” Sumikawa said.
“Now our phone is ringing off the hook, and we have don't have a single bottle of this sake left in our warehouse. Buyers have to preorder in 2 or 3 months,” he added.
This sake is hard to find, even at online stores. Most often, there's a sign under the item which reads: “Sold out.” Rarely are there 3-6 bottles in stock on the list. Some retailers sell only one bottle per customer, and only they still have something to sell.
Not only has the brand ‘Oriental Beauty, First Standard’ been sold from the shelves, but all other brands of this line as well.
“Now buyers don’t go into details. Any brand of the line Oriental Beauty will do. We produce 250,000 bottles of sake of different brands of this line a year, and it’s the first time our stock is totally empty,” Sumikawa said.
The production cycle of the Oriental Beauty sake is 40 days; each consignment is 1,500 bottles.
“Now every consignment is sold out at once, so that many buyers have to wait for a month or longer for the next consignment to be produced,” Sumikawa said.
His company has already received a proposal to export its sake to Russia, but cannot give an answer.
“Of course we are eager to know whether Russian buyers like our sake, but for the moment on we just have nothing to export,” Sumikawa said.
During Vladimir Purin’s visit to Japan, he met Shinzo Abe at a hot spring resort in his home town of Nagato in Yamaguchi Prefecture. On the agenda was economic partnership and resolution of 70-year-old territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands.
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