Amami Brown Sugar Shochu

Origin of Brown Sugar Shochu

A book written during the late Edo period (1603 to 1868), when Amami Oshima Island was ruled by the Satsuma domain, describes a liquor that may be the ancestor of brown sugar shochu. Until the Meiji period (1868 to 1912), alcoholic beverages were produced at home similar to miso (soybean paste) and soy sauce. Then Japan entered a period of turbulence, when ingredients for liquor were not easily available due to repeated wars. On Amami Oshima Island, which was ruled by the Ryukyu Dynasty for a long time, awamori had been made for generations. However, the production of awamori was difficult during the war because of the prolonged shortage of rice, which lead to the full-scale production of brown sugar liquor made from sugarcane.
However, the Liquor Tax Act of Japan did not permit alcoholic beverages made from sugar, excluding rum, and the tax rate charged on such beverages was high. Therefore, when the Amami Islands reverted to Japan in 1953 following the ruling by the U.S. military forces, production of brown sugar shochu was permitted as an exception on the condition that rice malt were used for the production, as a means of saving the residents of the islands who were struggling financially in the post-war reconstruction period. Brown sugar shochu is still rare and production is only permitted on Amami Oshima Islands.
It is a great asset created by the local culture, and it is our mission to pass down the value of brown sugar shochu forever.

Origin of Brown Sugar Shochu

A book written during the late Edo period (1603 to 1868), when Amami Oshima Island was ruled by the Satsuma domain, describes a liquor that may be the ancestor of brown sugar shochu. Until the Meiji period (1868 to 1912), alcoholic beverages were produced at home similar to miso (soybean paste) and soy sauce. Then Japan entered a period of turbulence, when ingredients for liquor were not easily available due to repeated wars. On Amami Oshima Island, which was ruled by the Ryukyu Dynasty for a long time, awamori had been made for generations. However, the production of awamori was difficult during the war because of the prolonged shortage of rice, which lead to the full-scale production of brown sugar liquor made from sugarcane.
However, the Liquor Tax Act of Japan did not permit alcoholic beverages made from sugar, excluding rum, and the tax rate charged on such beverages was high. Therefore, when the Amami Islands reverted to Japan in 1953 following the ruling by the U.S. military forces, production of brown sugar shochu was permitted as an exception on the condition that rice malt were used for the production, as a means of saving the residents of the islands who were struggling financially in the post-war reconstruction period. Brown sugar shochu is still rare and production is only permitted on Amami Oshima Islands.
It is a great asset created by the local culture, and it is our mission to pass down the value of brown sugar shochu forever.

Origin of Brown Sugar Shochu

Sugarcane from Amami Oshima Island

More than 500 years ago, an old man named Kawachi Sunao lived on Amami Oshima Island. In 1605, he set sail to Ryukyu. However, he was hit by a typhoon and drifted down to Fujian, China. He stayed there for about one year and a half and learned how to cultivate sugarcane. It is said that he brought three sugarcane seedlings back to Japan and grew them at Yamato Village, Amami Oshima Island. This was the beginning of sugarcane farming on the island.
Uken Village, where the distillery of Amami Oshima Kaiun Shuzo is located, currently has approx. 12 hectares of sugarcane fields, where approx. 400 tons of high-quality sugarcane with a high sugar content is harvested every year.

Sugarcane from Amami Oshima Island

More than 500 years ago, an old man named Kawachi Sunao lived on Amami Oshima Island. In 1605, he set sail to Ryukyu. However, he was hit by a typhoon and drifted down to Fujian, China. He stayed there for about one year and a half and learned how to cultivate sugarcane. It is said that he brought three sugarcane seedlings back to Japan and grew them at Yamato Village, Amami Oshima Island. This was the beginning of sugarcane farming on the island.
Uken Village, where the distillery of Amami Oshima Kaiun Shuzo is located, currently has approx. 12 hectares of sugarcane fields, where approx. 400 tons of high-quality sugarcane with a high sugar content is harvested every year.

Sugarcane from Amami Oshima Island

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a natural food with very high nutritional value. The nutrients our bodies require are balanced in brown sugar because minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients contained in sugarcane are not lost during the refining process.
Brown sugar is made by slowly boiling natural sugarcane juice. Its natural sweetness is concentrated in brown sugar, creating a gentle sweetness with a pleasant aftertaste, which is reminiscent of a fruit that spreads throughout your month. Production of shochu from brown sugar as a specialty of Amami Oshima Island is only permitted on the Amami Islands. We are very grateful for brown sugar.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a natural food with very high nutritional value. The nutrients our bodies require are balanced in brown sugar because minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients contained in sugarcane are not lost during the refining process.
Brown sugar is made by slowly boiling natural sugarcane juice. Its natural sweetness is concentrated in brown sugar, creating a gentle sweetness with a pleasant aftertaste, which is reminiscent of a fruit that spreads throughout your month. Production of shochu from brown sugar as a specialty of Amami Oshima Island is only permitted on the Amami Islands. We are very grateful for brown sugar.

Brown Sugar

How Amami Brown Sugar Shochu is Made

1. Harvesting sugarcane:
As a major source of sugar, similar to sugar beets, sugarcane is a gramineous crop, which grows to be 2 to 4 meters tall. It is cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. In Japan, the majority of sugarcane is cultivated on the Nansei Islands, including Amami Oshima Island. Harvested sugarcane is squeezed into juice.

1. Harvesting sugarcane:
As a major source of sugar, similar to sugar beets, sugarcane is a gramineous crop, which grows to be 2 to 4 meters tall. It is cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. In Japan, the majority of sugarcane is cultivated on the Nansei Islands, including Amami Oshima Island. Harvested sugarcane is squeezed into juice.

2. Making brown sugar:
Impurities in sugarcane juice are removed carefully by hand, and then the juice is boiled and condensed into brown sugar.

2. Making brown sugar:
Impurities in sugarcane juice are removed carefully by hand, and then the juice is boiled and condensed into brown sugar.

3. Making Rice Malt:
Unlike rum, which is also made from sugarcane, brown sugar shochu is made using rice malt. The use of malt is a fermentation technique unique to Asia and is an important process of liquor production.
Rice is washed, soaked in water, drain, and then put into a malting machine in which the rice is steamed, cooled, and made into rice malt. The manual tasks are important in these processes. The rice is matured for approx. 41 hours at a temperature of 34 to 36° C.

3. Making Rice Malt:
Unlike rum, which is also made from sugarcane, brown sugar shochu is made using rice malt. The use of malt is a fermentation technique unique to Asia and is an important process of liquor production.
Rice is washed, soaked in water, drain, and then put into a malting machine in which the rice is steamed, cooled, and made into rice malt. The manual tasks are important in these processes. The rice is matured for approx. 41 hours at a temperature of 34 to 36° C.

4. Preparation:
Yeast, which produces alcohol from water and sugar, is put into a tank. Rice malt is also added to the tank, and the yeast is cultivated for about six days. This process is the primary preparation.
In the secondary preparation, melted brown sugar is cooled and added to moromi (fermented rice mash) made during the primary preparation process. It is fermented for 10 to 20 days at a temperature of 25 to 30° C.
Adding brown sugar in two increments, which means the addition of a tertiary preparation process, allows the yeast to ferment without an extra load.

4. Preparation:
Yeast, which produces alcohol from water and sugar, is put into a tank. Rice malt is also added to the tank, and the yeast is cultivated for about six days. This process is the primary preparation.
In the secondary preparation, melted brown sugar is cooled and added to moromi (fermented rice mash) made during the primary preparation process. It is fermented for 10 to 20 days at a temperature of 25 to 30° C.
Adding brown sugar in two increments, which means the addition of a tertiary preparation process, allows the yeast to ferment without an extra load.

5. Distillation:
Moromi is moved to a still container after alcohol fermentation has progressed in the tertiary preparation.
There are two types of distillation for making shochu. One is distillation under reduced pressure and the other is distillation under normal pressure. The former is used for making Lento. When the pressure in the still container is reduced, the boiling point is lowered to 43 to 45° C, creating a clean taste without unwanted flavors.

5. Distillation:
Moromi is moved to a still container after alcohol fermentation has progressed in the tertiary preparation.
There are two types of distillation for making shochu. One is distillation under reduced pressure and the other is distillation under normal pressure. The former is used for making Lento. When the pressure in the still container is reduced, the boiling point is lowered to 43 to 45° C, creating a clean taste without unwanted flavors.

6. Storage:
Distilled Lento is stored in tanks for three months for acoustic aging. Other products are stored in wooden casks and aged in a silent environment.
Lento is stored until the shochu has aged sufficiently and waits the optimal blend.

6. Storage:
Distilled Lento is stored in tanks for three months for acoustic aging. Other products are stored in wooden casks and aged in a silent environment.
Lento is stored until the shochu has aged sufficiently and waits the optimal blend.

7. Bottling:
We take all possible measures to examine shochu before bottling it. We repeat the detailed examination from a variety of perspectives. Shochu is bottled on a dust-proof line to prevent contamination by foreign matter. Our staff continuously monitor the entire process.

7. Bottling:
We take all possible measures to examine shochu before bottling it. We repeat the detailed examination from a variety of perspectives. Shochu is bottled on a dust-proof line to prevent contamination by foreign matter. Our staff continuously monitor the entire process.

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