Emphasis on production
Together with a natural environment that includes a distillery
UNKAI SHUZO has distilleries in Gokase Town, Aya Town, and Takaoka Town (Miyazaki Prefecture), as well as Izumi City (Kagoshima Prefecture). All of these distilleries produce authentic shochu. Under the concept of “Tasting authentic shochu means tasting the distillery and nature”, each distillery utilizes the blessings of nature in pursuing a delicious flavor that only that distillery can produce.
UNKAI SHUZO GOKASEGURA
Water plays an important role in the production of authentic shochu. Rainwater that has fallen on Mt. Gion—which has strata dating back 430 million years—trickles from rocks near the Gokase distillery. Used by the distillery for mashing and dilution, this water is soft and slightly alkaline, and contains virtually no impurities. It is truly a blessing from the heavens nurtured since ancient times.
UNKAI SHUZO AYAGURA
Aya Town was declared a UNESCO Ecopark in 2012. The location of the Aya distillery is surrounded by abundant nature, including Japan’s largest laurel forest and two clear-flowing rivers—the Ayakitagawa and Ayaminamigawa Rivers. The Aya distillery produces authentic shochu using pure water generated by one of Japan’s foremost laurel forests for mashing, and various research related to authentic shochu is also conducted there.
One of the outcomes of this research is “Hyuganada-Kuroshio Yeast”, which was carefully selected from among a large number of yeasts collected in Hyuganada. Discovered through joint research by UNKAI SHUZO’s R&D department and shochu specialist Dr. Kihachiro Ogawa, this yeast has been confirmed to be the most suitable yeast for shochu-making.
At this handmade distillery, brewers use their expert skills to carry out traditional shochu-making. In the koji-making process, they make full use of the five senses—aroma and appearance, etc.—in promoting yeast propagation while monitoring temperature and humidity. For mashing, large earthenware pots holding 1,000 liters are used. In the first mashing, yeast and water are added to the koji to make shubo (yeast starter). In the second mashing, the shubo is carefully processed and then mixed with steamed sweet potatoes and water to make moromi. Because temperature management is important in both these processes, the brewers stir the mash as they monitor the fermentation process.
Distillation is carried out once only using pot stills. The handmade distillery uses wooden barrel distillers made from cedar wood, producing unprocessed shochu with a gentle taste imbued with cedar’s subtle fragrance.
|UNKAI SHUZO CO., LTD.（雲海酒造株式会社）
|45-1, Shoeicho, Miyazaki-shi, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan
|Tour of a Warehouse
|Aya Shizengura Kengakukan (Minimum of two visitors/advance reservations required)