Rice Shochu Blessed with the Purest Water (Thursday, November 1st, 2012)
SENGETSU SHUZO CO., LTD.
The southern part of Kumamoto Prefecture, called the Kuma region, is known as the major source of rice shochu. Today sweet potato and barley are more commonly used for shochu production, but shochu production actually started with rice about 500 years ago. In particular, shochu from the Kuma region is recognized worldwide as Kuma Shochu, a brand named after its area that is designated by the World Trade Organization (like Scotch Whiskey and Cognac Brandy). Deeply rooted in the region, SENGETSU SHUZO has produced Kuma Shochu for over 100 years.
The fog shrouded Hitoyoshi Basin in the Kuma region is the home of SENGETSU. The Kawabe River running through the Basin contains great quality water, which has been officially acknowledged as being of the most excellent quality by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for 6 consecutive years. The water helps grow rice as well as brew shochu, and the distiller can maximize the blessings of this nature. The other feature of SENGETSU is its technical and spiritual traditions handed down since its establishment in 1903. Historically, many shochu distillers used to employ migrant brewers during the busy season, but from the beginning of their business SENGETSU has hired in-house master brewers and has developed and maintained the original SENGETSU flavor.
Three products from SENGETSU SHUZO are currently available in the U.S., but New Yorkers can only enjoy two of them, the premium rice shochu Kawabe and Koi Shisou: Love’s in the Air, a shochu base liqueur mixed with red shiso leaves. Kawabe boasts a clean, elegant aroma with a sharp finish, and it’s recommended to be drunk on the rocks. Very soft on the palate, it can be appreciated just like a dry sake by being paired with a variety of dishes. With a beautiful pink color naturally coming from locally grown red shiso leaves, Koi Shisou is ideal as an aperitif and dessert liqueur. Its sweet and sour flavor is great on its own, but it also can be enjoyed on the rocks, mixed with soda and beer, or even poured on ice cream.
SENGETSU SHUZO CO., LTD.
1 Shinmachi, Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto
3 things you should know about SENGETSU SHUZO CO., LTD.
SENGETSU SHUZO is a rice shochu specialty distillery with 108 years of history. Located in the heart of the Kuma region, which is known as the mecca of rice shochu, the distillery has produced shochu with Japan’s highest quality river water and locally grown rice.
Thanks to in-house master brewers, the technical and spiritual traditions of SENGETSU’s shochu production have been firmly handed down from the beginning of the distillery to the current 6th generation master. It should be noted that the third master brewer, Toyoka Sosogi, demonstrated outstanding achievements in the shochu industry and received the title of prestigious Contemporary Master Craftsman.
To contribute to the local community, SENGETSU SHUZO has held an annual festival, the Sengetsu Matsuri, every May for the last 26 years. All the proceeds from the food and drinks served are donated to local schools, as well as used to support sports and cultural activities in the community.