It’s been a constant struggle over the years to get Japan to buy more U.S. rice, and a new development may be just the ticket to help improve trade ties. The Ninki Shuzo brewery in Japan is now making saké with California-grown rice, according to the USA Rice Federation.

Koda Farms in Merced County, Calif., is shipping two varieties of organic rice to the brewer, which eventually plans to export what it calls “a sophisticated, well-balanced flavor” saké to the U.S.

“I was passionate about creating good quality saké using our rice and I think we accomplished that," says Ross Koda, a third-generation farmer. “My late grandfather, Keisaburo Koda, was dedicated to promoting relations between the U.S. and Japan, and I am seeking to do the same with this saké.”

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