Emphasis on an even better environment
“Throughout the world, alcohol has been made in the mountains since ancient times.” Accordingly, the founders of this distillery set off in search of an environment with even better water, looking for somewhere in the local mountains— the Osuzu Mountains—, and this is the place that they found.
Water drawn from near the source and upper reaches of the river is used in all mashing and dilution processes. This ultra-soft water is a rarity in Japan. It is so easy to drink that you can drink a glass smoothly in one gulp, the water sliding gently down the throat.
All aspects of the shochu-making process are carried out by hand—even koji-making, which is gradually being mechanized because the process requires so much time and effort. In order to ferment the shochu mash at a suitable temperature, brewers manually spread the koji out in a room, performing this task for one to two hours every day. The facial expressions of the brewers touching the koji are intensely serious. Carrying the koji is also done by hand.
While utilizing the latest technology in shochu-making, the distillery pursues flavor that can only be achieved through manual labor, and so as many aspects of the shochu-making process as possible continue to be carried out by hand.
Comprising black-painted wooden buildings standing side-by-side in a valley, the distillery gives the illusion that you have come to a foreign country.
Shochu-making at the OSUZUYAMA DISTILLERY
Shochu-making bringing people and the land together as one
At the OSUZUYAMA DISTILLERY, the rooms where koji is made and the barrels in which moromi mash is made are all made of wood. “Trees control moisture so there is always a moderate amount”. This exemplifies shochu-making carried out together with nature.
Deep enough to fit two adults, these barrels are made of Obi cedar. Light, highly buoyant and durable, as well as flexible, this wood is bends easily. Also prized in ship-building materials, these attributes are fully utilized in the distillery’s barrels.
They remind us that shochu is made by humans, microorganisms, and nature all working together.
|656-17, Aza Kuraya, Oaza Ishikawauchi, Koyu-gun Kijocho, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan