Drinks supplier Bibendum has introduced a selection of sake to meet what it describes as a growing demand for the Japanese rice wine in UK restaurants.
It has added four breweries to its range, three of which brew sake which has never been sold outside Japan, and believes the drink has potential beyond being paired with sushi.
Antony Rixon, director of regional sales, who has spearheaded Bibendum's sake project, said: "Sake offers operators and consumers something genuinely different and exciting right across the spectrum from innovative cocktails to fine dining. The UK already loves Japanese food and there is every reason to believe it will quickly learn to love sake too."
Dave Strauss, director of Goodman/Burger and Lobster restaurants, added: "Sake has been on our radar for a long time and it is brilliant to see a distributor like Bibendum taking it seriously and importing such a varied, high quality range. I expect to see more and more sake hit the UK as the market for it quickly gathers pace."
Included in Bibendum's new range are a number of varieties from the Akita Shuri Seizoh brewery, which is based in an area renowned for its water purity.
Among its range is Takashimizu Junmai Daiginjo, a fragrant sake with flavours of pear and apple which pairs well with fish and seafood.
Other brewers in Bibendum's sake stable include Shiraki, Tenzan and Niizawa, which produces particularly refined and food friendly rice wine including Hakurakusei Jinmai Daiginjo (pictured) which has aromas of muscat grapes and pineapple.
Shigeri Shiraki, vice-president of the Shiraki brewery, said: "Everything I have seen shows me that the UK is ready to embrace sake just as they have other aspects of our food culture such as sushi and sashimi."
The 15 sakes available range in trade price from £14.95 for Akita's Takashimizu Honjozo to £83.77 for Shiraki's 20 year old Daruma Masamune.