Classifying Asian Spirits and Sake

When I was writing the Japanese Imports feature story for our Jan/Feb issue, one of the questions that came up consistently was “Where should sake be placed on the shelf in retail?” Sake isn’t a beer, it’s not a wine and it’s not a spirit, so where should consumers expect to find it, and where should retailers place it? In some stores the choice is easy – if shelves are organized by geographic region, it’s found in the Asian or Japanese section.

But in most stores, the brand managers I spoke to say sake is being misclassified or haphazardly placed in a miscellaneous section. So where do you place sake in your store? Is it based on customer feedback, brand preferences, or some other method?

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