Sake-drinking declines in Japan
According to Reuters, sake-drinking has declined in Japan (although sales have grown in the USA). In Japan sales of sake, supposedly the national alcoholic drink, fell by half between 1996 and 2004. Although premium sake sells well, ordinary sake (80% of all sake) does not. Japanese drinkers have turned to other forms of alcohol, mostly of Western origin. For more, see here.
sake brewers (book)
Sensuke Izumi, The Izumi Family--Seven Generations of Sake Making (translated by Yasuko Sanborn who added an epilogue for the Kobe earthquake which ended the family business) (YS Publishing, 2005).
'It's all about shochu and chu-hai cocktails'
Not only has shochu surpassed sake as the beverage of choice in many izakaya restaurants in Japan, but it's now starting to catch on in Southern California. The LA Times reports.