Beauty and the Yeast

Sake has been a staple of Japanese tables for some 15 centuries. But with sales sliding dramatically in recent years, brewers are hoping to find a new niche for this venerable drink: the bathroom shelf.

As the world's second largest cosmetics market after the U.S., Japan is a huge consumer of skin-care products. Neither this fact—nor consumers' liking for beauty goods formulated with natural ingredients—has been lost on sake brewers, who are rushing to develop skin-care lines featuring their rice wines. With high levels of naturally created amino acids, these New Age elixirs are aimed at moisturizing and...

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