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MOMOKAWA BREWING INC. ESTABLISHES U.S. PREMIUM SAKE BREWERY

 MOMOKAWA BREWING INC. ESTABLISHES U.S. PREMIUM SAKE BREWERY
 PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Momokawa Brewing Inc., Japan's 47th largest sake brewing company (out of 2,700), said today it is entering the U.S. sake market through a joint venture partnership, Momokawa Sake Ltd., with an Oregon-based international business development corporation, Frost International Group Inc.
 Momokawa Sake's tasting facility opens mid-September 1992 in Forest Grove, just outside Portland. The company is importing product for U.S. distribution until sake can be produced stateside when construction of its permanent brewing facility is completed next year. The subsidiary joint venture will produce the same quality of premium country sake Momokawa Brewing has been noted for in Japan for the past 150 years.
 "Our philosophies, with respect to internationalization and balance of trade, business operations and greater cultural interchange, are harmonious," stated Griffith Frost, president of Frost International Group and Momokawa Sake Ltd., referring to operating philosophies shared with Momokawa Inc. Chairman Tohru Murai. "This has evolved over several years of discussion, and we believe has created a firm foundation upon which to grow this new enterprise."
 To launch its product in the states, the company is unfolding an informational campaign to educate consumers about sake and to cultivate a discriminating taste and niche position for its premium product. This corresponds with recent trends of reduced consumption and growing experimentation with finer quality alcoholic and alternative beverages by the American public. The company plans to label all of its products with appropriate taste charts.
 Direct mail is the core of the marketing campaign, reaching beyond grocery shelves directly into consumers' homes via a practical information and product catalogue, "Connoisseur's Guide to Premium Sake." The guide features articles on the history of sake, complementary cuisine, recipes and serving instructions, as well as product availability. It may be obtained free by calling 800-356-4SAKE, or by writing the company at 920 Elm St., Forest Grove, OR 97116.
 U.S. sake consumption has grown from 1,258,000 gallons in 1984 to 1,766,000 in 1991, according to the Wine Institute. Americans are increasing sake consumption and decreasing consumption of other alcoholic beverages at the same time the Japanese are doing the exact reverse. These trends and the growing internationalization of business in general are globalizing the beverage industry as it searches out new markets.
 Like quality wines, production of premium sake is more costly and yields are smaller than moderate quality varieties. Premium brands have competed favorably in international contests with fine French wines for complexity and refinement. The company has targeted production goals of 10,000 gallons in the first six months and 130,000 gallons annually thereafter. It selected Oregon for varied reasons, in addition to Murai's and Frost's personal relationship: its pristine countryside and iron-free water. Test rice crops are currently in the field to determine if an appropriate strain of rice can be grown in-state.
 Momokawa Sake is the eighth sake and the first premium sake brewery to be established stateside. The remaining seven are located in California, Colorado and Hawaii. Its premium product is being positioned to compete against quality white wines, not against other U.S. sake producers. Only a small percentage of the over 5,000 varieties sold within Japan are currently available to U.S. consumers, none of which meet Momokawa Sake's premium standards.
 Momokawa Brewing Inc. earned total sales of 3,212 million yen, or $24.7 million, on assets of 3.406 million yen, or $26.2 million, in 1991. It and Momokawa Sake Ltd. are members of the Momokawa Business Group, a consortium of affiliated companies in the transportation, fuel sources, business management, retailing, liquor wholesaling, sake production and distribution varieties.
 -0- 8/27/92
 /CONTACT: Kim Frazier of Momokawa Brewing, 503-357-7056, or fax, 503-357-1014; or Kandis Brewer of The Kandis Brewer Co., 503-452-8499, or fax, 503-452-9307, for Momokawa Brewing/ CO: Momokawa Brewing Inc.; Momokawa Sake Ltd.; Frost International
 Group; Momokawa Business Group ST: Oregon IN: FOD SU: JVN


SC-GT -- SE004 -- 3931 08/27/92 12:00 EDT
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Date:Aug 27, 1992
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