The image of a ham with a glass of Sherry has been established in Japan as a symbol of Spain.
A study of the Japanese fortified wine market supervised by the Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo shows that this change of trend, the gradual abandonment of culinary use for Sherry – from the frying pan to the glass or from the cooker to the table – has grown, thanks fundamentally to the proliferation of the “Spain Bars” and “Sherry Bars”.
Surveys conducted a few years ago showed that half the imported Sherry was used as a cooking ingredient. But the situation now “seems to be changing” according to a study made public by ICEX which demonstrates that consumption of Sherry as a drink in bars and restaurants is growing. Sherry is slowly extricating itself from the kitchen and being seen as a drink, a gradual change which is compensating for the slight reduction in sales volume by developing higher value sales and an image of higher quality.
The Spanish style bars which feature tapas and wine matching “are in vogue” and “they have a very good way of bringing Spanish products to the Japanese consumer,” indicates the study which underlines that the “Spain Bars have established the image of a ham and a glass of Sherry as a representative image of Spain and its gastronomy”. Furthermore the study links directly the growth of demand for Sherry as a drink, and particularly Fino and Manzanilla, with the growing number of this type of establishment, where consumption by the glass is very popular.
Along with the “Spain Bars” among which there is the growth of “Sherry Bars” – in fact the establishment with the highest number of Sherries on its wine list in the world is in Japan – the study points to the contribution of other initiatives like the Official Venenciador Competition which adds more faithful to the cause. Perhaps unsurprisingly the report continues “in the Japanese market there is a not insignificant number of Sherry aficionados and venenciadores who can contribute to the change in perception of Sherry in the public as a whole, who drink proportionally less Sherry than other wines.
“The Venenciador ceremony is one way to attract the attention of Japanese consumers”, continues the report, which recommends “promoting more events and educational activity which would attract people to the wine and its combination with food (marriage or harmony) in the most outstanding and attractive places with the purpose of creating a suitable promotion policy to increase demand for Sherry as a drink.”
As times have changed, Sherry has lost its position as the aperitif par excellence at banquets or wedding receptions to sparkling wines. In compensation, however, the bottle of Sherry has now become “essential in any bar or hotel with any pretensions to quality, where it is served on its own or in a cocktail.”
Photo: Bar Miz
25 April 2017