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[Please read first] Know Shochu and Sake

Hi! I’m Nori.

I’m running Shochu bar in Kumamoto.

Today I will tell you about really interesting fact between Shochu and Sake in Japan.

What’s the Shochu?

Shochu is alcohol we drinks During a meal

Before thinking about this , here is simple question.

What is the big difference between Shochu and Sake!?

Whenever foreign customers coming to my BAR I always ask them about this question.

What is the difference?

Mainly I tell them ‘Sake is fermented alcohol’ but ‘Shochu is distilled spirits ’.
Easy to imagine , Sake is kind of same group as well as Wine and Beer.
Shochu is kind of same group as well as Vodka , whiskey and bourbon.

But interesting is , Shochu is distilled alcohol and we drinks shochu so many situations,
Before eating , while eating , after eating.
Our image, normally distilled alcohol like a whiskey and bourbon is drunk ‘after eating ’ or ‘before eating’

If you visit Japan and go to Izakaya(Japanese casual night time restaurant) . you can see so many Japanese people drink shochu with dinner or finger snacks.
Also at BAR, you can see so many Japanese people drink shochu without eating.

So Shochu is drunk when we eat dinner like a Sushi , Tempura , Sashimi!
Distilled alcohol but we enjoy shochu so many situation , this is interesting point !


Comparison of Sake and Shochu consumption (kℓ)

Thinks about Sake, maybe so many foreign people think ‘Sake is the most famous alcohol in Japan’
Nice image! I’ll not complain to you guys, But when you think about consumption amount between Sake and Shochu , actually Shochu is more drunk in Japan!!

Can you imagine!? From 2015 date from(Japan National Tax Agency)
Shochu is 862,575 (kℓ)
Sake is 591,137 (kℓ)
About 1.5 times drunk thank Sake!!

Please notice this interesting face!

That consumption says , Shochu is really close to our life!!

Vibes Point)
Do you know Chu-hi (酎ハイ) in Japan?
It is casual Japanese spirit with soda .
You can order at Izakaya and easy to drink like a High ball (whiskey with soda)
And sometimes we use Shochu for Chu-hi, that is one of the reason why Shochu consumption is higher than Sake.


Bottle keep system in Japan

Please know this good and interesting culture in Japan so that you can understand ‘why Shochu is close to our life’
If you go to Izakaya, so many Izakaya serves (Shochu bottle keep system)

You can order shochu bottle and Izakaya stuff brings ‘not-open shochu bottle , water , glasses and hot water’
You can mix Shochu with water and hot water by your condition or taste.
And if you can’t drink all , normally you can keep your bottle at Izakaya within 3month.

What is the benefit for Izakaya?
They do not need to serve shochu by each customer order
Customer orders foods for drinking shochu

What is the benefit for customer?
They can drink Shochu cheaper than to order each glass
(It is depends on area and Izakaya , but normally you can keep shochu around 2,000 – 3,500 yen for 720ml or 900ml)

Do you remember?
Shochu is distilled alcohol ,and Sake is fermented alcohol.

Because of distilled alcohol , we can keep our own bottle at Izakaya for 3month.

This is interesting point for shochu, I traveled over 13 countries but never experienced this bottle keep system .
Some of country has bottle keep system but normally that was expencive, not casual keep system.

This fact push Shochu consumption amount I feel!

Vibes Point)
Shochu keep price (from my experience)
South of Kyusyu(famous area for making and drinking shochu)
→1,500 – 2,000 yen for 900ml bottle
→2,500 – 3,500 yen for 720 – 900 ml bottle



Glocal BAR Vibes / Nori