IWAKURA BREWERY’s focus
Sweet potatoes are prepared as soon as they are dug up
The Iwakura family become busy in late August, after the Obon holiday. This is the beginning of the shochu-making season, which continues until October. During the season, koji-making and shochu-making are carried out in parallel. The sweet potatoes used for making the shochu are locally grown.
The sweet potatoes are processed while they are fresh. Delivered to the Iwakuras on the day they are dug up, the sweet potatoes are washed and sorted before use. The following day, the steamed sweet potatoes are mixed together with koji (rice malt) for the mashing process. The water used for mashing is the same well water that the distillery has always used.
All production processes are carried out by hand
The first mashing uses around one-and-a-half tons of sweet potatoes. Just washing the potatoes takes four people one-and-a-half hours to complete. The subsequent sorting and peeling processes are also carried out by hand. Sorting is a particularly important process, and so each potato is carefully inspected visually, and any with bad spots or discoloration are separated out.
Etsuko Iwakura was originally responsible for bottling and shipment, but these tasks have been taken over by her daughter, with all the distillery workers pitching in during extra busy periods. Attaching labels to the bottles is also done by hand. The day of our visit, we arrived after the day’s work had finished and the sound of cheerful laughter echoed through the distillery.
IWAKURA BREWERY’s shochu
Pouring their hearts into delivering shochu through every aspect of the production process, including sales
The Iwakuras’ shochu brands are mainly sold directly to stores without going through a wholesaler. Says Etsuko: “Because of the size of the distillery, the production amount is limited (we cannot make large quantities).” Accordingly, the IWAKURA DISTILLERY prizes quality over quantity in their shochu-making. While conveying this, the distillery also has a policy of “Wanting to make sales in which there is mutual understanding” that has remained unchanged over the distillery’s history. At times when business was difficult, Yukio Iwakura would himself visit stores to open up sales channels. Many of the stores where the IWAKURA DISTILLERY’s shochu is currently sold have been doing business with the Iwakuras for some 20 years. “Vendors pay us friendly visits while we are working,” says Etsuko with a laugh.
|Company Name||IWAKURA BREWERY（岩倉酒造場）|
|Address||7945 Oaza Shimosannzai, Saito-shi, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan|