Premium Japanese Sake Brand SOTO Adds Tennis Player Naomi Osaka as Investor

MIAMI – Japanese sake, one of the fastest growing alcohol categories in North America over the last decade, is expected to expand by a further 51% by 2022. One prominent beneficiary of this consumer trend: SOTO Sake, an award-winning, premium Japanese sake brand produced in Niigata, Japan is sold in thousands of locations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

The SOTO brand is dedicated to the craftsmanship, quality and purity of taste of “Japanese sake,” the moniker of which is used only for sake that is actually produced in Japan. This month, SOTO Sake is pleased to announce that Japan-born pro tennis phenom Naomi Osaka has joined the brand as both an investor and creative consultant. Her role was formalized this summer.

The soft-spoken Osaka is the winner of the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open, and is emerging as a prominent symbol of cultural diversity and exemplary, humble grace and sportsmanship.

“Naomi’s elegant, serene demeanor and philosophical outlook on her life and young career are big reasons we wanted her to be involved with SOTO,” says Billy Melnyk, who co-founded the brand with business partner Dan Rubinoff. “Appreciating true Japanese sake is a transportive and enlightening experience, and we wanted our first publicly celebrated investor to embody that.”

“As a native of Japan, I am proud to be involved with a product that is authentically Japanese,” said Naomi Osaka. “SOTO’s status as a made-in-Japan, traditional ‘Japanese sake’ is another major reason I’m supporting the brand.”

Melnyk and Rubinoff created the SOTO brand to be an artisanal symbol for global social drinking, based on the restraint, beauty and discipline of Japanese culture. “We’re sharing the traditions of Japan through SOTO Sake’s modernized form, introducing the drinking experience of sake to more people, and contributing to the category’s increased popularity.”

Tennis star Osaka joins SOTO’s carefully curated group of investors, which includes leaders in hospitality, design, entertainment, media and now professional sports.

In her role as a creative consultant to SOTO, Osaka (who was coincidentally born in Osaka, Japan) will lend her generational and cultural insights to the brand as it grows and promotes itself, with proper responsibility, to a new generation of social drinkers. SOTO intends to use Naomi’s emotional and cultural intelligence, and her growing status as a role model for women of all ages and races, to introduce historic elements of Japanese culture and craftsmanship to millions of people around the world through the brand’s marketing and the experience of enjoying Japanese sake.

Says Melnyk, “Having worked with many global liquor brands and high-profile personalities for over 15 years, I wanted SOTO to take a different path to introduce its beautiful Japanese sakes to the world. This is a discerning drink for an educated, global citizen, and I love the idea that Naomi will help us do that tastefully, graciously and with the same focus and will she demonstrates on a Grand Slam court.”

About SOTO Sake 

SOTO is a premium sake brand crafted in Japan, run by two North American entrepreneurs and headquartered in Miami, Florida. Award-winning SOTO emphasizes the taste, experience, heritage and craftsmanship of the finest Japanese sake. All SOTO sakes are natural, gluten free and do not contain sulfites, preservatives, nor added sugar.

SOTO Junmai Daiginjo (15.5% ABV) is available in 720ml and 300ml bottles and has been awarded a Gold Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, a Gold Medal from the Monde Selection Global Quality Institute, and the Double Gold medal at the China Wine & Spirits Awards.

SOTO Junmai (14% ABV) is available in 720ml bottles and 180ml single-serve cans and received a Gold Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

SOTO Sake always emphasizes responsible drinking and is sold at wine and liquor retailers, Whole Foods Market, and leading hotels, restaurants, and bars. Visit or follow @sotosake. Contact:

About Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is one of the most explosive and influential tennis players of all-time. She is the first Asian player to hold the No.1 ranking in singles and the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam. Her extraordinary tennis triumphs combined with her off-court success lead to her being named Forbes highest paid female athlete of all time and makes her one of tennis’ biggest stars. She has been featured in Allure, Time, Vogue, In Style, The New York Times, and ESPN and has appeared on talks shows such as Ellen, CBS This Morning, TODAY, CNN and GMA.

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