JAPAN – Nomu-Japan has been awarded a matching funds grant from the Japanese government to help promote the overseas branding of Wabi Sabi Gin and develop a ready-to-drink (RTD) gin-based product.

The grant program is run by the Japanese National Tax Authority (JNTA) and works to support the branding of Japanese alcoholic beverages.

This program is aimed at increasing the perceived value of Japanese products in general, new product development inspired by overseas demand, and international brand building.

The grant was approved in May 2022 after Nomu-Japan submitted a detailed business plan and budget to the JNTA, during the first quarter of 2022.

The JNTA determined that the business model and execution plans would help Nomu-Japan achieve its ambitions to develop sales channels and drum-up demand in specific international markets, including the US, the UK, and Europe.

The business model, which includes developing a low-alcohol, low-calorie, RTD product using its Wabi Sabi Gin™ as a base, is also considered sustainable production and distribution practices.

Wabi Sabi Gin will be used to help Nomu-Japan™ successfully demonstrate its concept and promote the brand internationally.

Furthermore, Nomu-Japan’s business model seeks to uncover brands and other Japanese craft spirits producers.

The company now intends to transition its name to ‘Nomu-Spirits’, as the Japanese word ‘nomu’ means ‘to drink’ in English, hence “to drink spirits”.

A spokesperson for Nomu-Japan™ said: “As a start-up with a Japanese woman at the helm, we were very excited to hear we won this grant. The win was announced only a few months after we began production.”

“This recognition by the Japanese government agency was a great encouragement and helps validate our business model.”

Drive to increase consumption of alcohol intensifies

 The backing of the Japanese beverage company comes at a time when the Japanese government has launched a campaign to encourage young adults to drink more alcohol after a national drop in consumption led to a slide in tax revenues.

Coined after the nation’s famous rice wine, the “Sake Viva!” campaign is a contest to find slogans or ways to make alcohol more attractive to 20-39-year-olds, in a country where advertisements for alcoholic beverages are already ubiquitous.

Abstention from drinking, a trend partly fueled by the pandemic, and an aging population is the main factors in alcohol sales falling.

The World Bank estimates that nearly a third (29 percent) of Japan’s population is aged 65 and older – the highest proportion in the world.

Tax on alcohol accounted for 1.7 percent of Japan’s tax revenues in 2020, down from 5 percent in 1980.

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