Although the list of who's been hurt and who's been helped by I-1183 is still being written, it looks like fans of Korean and Japanese spirits are a shoo-in for the winners' column.
Uwajimaya has slowly started building its liquor section, which grocery manager Johnny Hirai says is dominated by shochu and soju. Very few customers have yet noticed the bottles, since they're being kept behind the customer service counter until dedicated shelving arrives, but Hirai says the selection already outnumbers the Asian liquors sold at state-run stores.
"We have 50 different SKUs (store-keeping unit)," Hirai says. "When the state was handling it, they had maybe three or four SKUs."
Hirai says the store plans to ultimately carry 200 different brands. He predicts the sojus (a Korean spirit traditionally distilled from rice, and sometimes likened to vodka) will be especially popular.
"They're inexpensive, yet very smooth," he says.
Among the spirits now available at Uwajimaya, Hirai is particularly enthusiastic about Jougo, a Japanese shochu made from black sugar.
"We also have Chinese spirits as well," Hirai adds. "We just wanted to start off small."