Import/Export Services

Suzuki-Marketing has exported fine wines to Asia-Pacific since 2004.
As the company developed its reputation for providing quality wines & marketing services, we began to receive inquiries about exporting spirits, and importing high-quality, low-production, craft sake, shochu, and whisky from Japan.   As a result, the business grew to include export and import of wines, spirits, sake, and shochu.

How did this happen? A few years ago, one of our distribution partners in Japan asked if we could source some bourbon for them. We reached out and developed a relationship with the distillers behind Yellowstone and Rebel Yell Bourbon. Those products are now on store shelves and served in bars and restaurants throughout Japan.

Sake: Japan's Heritage in a Bottle. We also began to know Japansese sake brewers and learned more about this amazing beverage that epitomizes Japanese hospitality. Sake, we're happy to say, is now gaining recognition in the West as a beverage that offers as much complexity and terroir as fine wine. As we began knowing more sake brewers, we realized that the US market needs to learn about some of the great sake that Japan offers.

Shochu & Japanese Whisky. Suzuki-Marketing has been instrumental in introducing fine shochu to the US market. Working closely with the Japan External Trade Organization, we helped to bring in the first gathering of shochu producers to the US in order to introduce them, and their products to sommeliers, beverage managers, and other industry professionals. In a similar vein, Japanese whisky began to take the world by storm probably a little over a decade ago. In truth, Japan's quality whisky industry is over 100 years old. Japan's first whisky distillers learned the craft from the Scots and British who helped Japan learn the ways of the West. In true Japanese fashion, some enterprising Japanese distillers learned the craft of distillation, and began to put their own stamp on whisky. We're happy to be helping bring some very nice Japanese whisky into the US as well.

There's more to import and export than putting a product on a boat and shipping it to its final destination. There are government regulations that have to be met on both sides of the ocean. In addition, the products have to pass muster with regards to ingredients and label requirements, before they can be put on store shelves.

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From where it's made to where it's sold

Importing alcoholic beverages — importing anything for that matter — to the US is not just a matter of your product on a boat. There's an "alphabet soup" of US government agencies and regulations that have to be met in order to bring products to the US.

Some of the things Suzuki-Marketing does to bring products from Japan to the US include:

FDA: Foreign Facilities Registration. Your brewery, distillery, manufacturing facility, has to be registered with the US Food & Drug Administration, and meet US government standards. When you agree to work with us, we register your facilty as your US Agent.

TTB Formulas:   We submit your beverage formulas and method of manufacture to the US Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) for approval. This also involves,sending samples of your product to the TTB Laboratory for analysis and formula approval.

TTB Certificate of Label Approvals (COLAs)
After formulas are approved, we submit labels to the TTB COLAs for approval. All beverages imported into the US have to meet COLA standards. In many cases, the Japanese labels need some changes so that they meet COLA requirements. We make recommendations so that your labels meet these specifications, as well as design Brand Labels that tell your story effectively for the US consumer.

In some cases, we'll suggest that you create front labels soley for the US market, and put your message on the back label. This enables your product to stand out on the shelves. This also lets you tell your story to the person who's perusing the store shelves. For instance: is your beverage dry or sweet?   What is the "semibuai" of the rice used in brewing your sake?   What is the rice variety used, and what does that mean?   What foods pair with your beverage?   We work with you to create labels that explain what the consumer can expect when he or she makes a purchase.

Customs and Border Protection Prior Notice: Once your product is on its way to the US, we have to let the CPB know it's on the way. We file Prior Notice with US CPB, so your product arrives, gets through Customs, and gets delivered to our warehouse.

Warehouse Services: We store your products at our licensed and bonded warehouse prior to being delivered.

Contact:   ©2020, Suzuki Marketing •  551 Eccles Ave. #3  •  South San Francisco, CA 94080