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GI Shochu in Japan ver. 1

Do you know about GI products ?? GI is really important for not only shochu but also another nationalities Original culture . So today i will introduce one Japanese GI Shochu ! Let’s know about our culture !

What is GI ?

A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

Example … BORDEAUX Wine is famous for GI product!

Ok Let’s talkabout Japanese GI shochu in Kyusyu and this time is ‘Kumamoto GI shochu’

☆Kuma shochu


Picture from Kuma-shochu Youtube below

No Geographical Indication indicating the production area of “Kuma” (hereinafter referred to as “Kuma Groundwater”) shall be used for primary moromi(mash) fermented by making malted rice and underground water of Kuma County or Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture, which is underground water of the Kuma River, as raw materials, adding rice and underground water of Kuma, and further fermented secondary moromi(mash) which is distilled by a single distillation machine in Kuma County or Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture and packed in containers, unless otherwise specified by Cabinet Order.

Rice Shochu produced in Hitoyoshi City or Kuma County in Kumamoto Prefecture is called Kuma Shochu
球磨焼酎
球磨 is Hitoyoshi area

Known for its rugged mountains and Kuma River, one of Japan’s three fastest rivers, the region is characterized by a climate and natural features characteristic of the basin, where the temperature varies greatly.

In the neighboring Satsuma region, rice cultivation was difficult on the Shirasu plateau, where volcanic ash had accumulated, but rice paddies spread in the Kuma River basin, making it a suitable environment for rice cultivation.

This strict yet rich nature nurtured delicious rice, and as a result, the Kuma region became famous as one of the leading rice production areas in Kumamoto.

First, let’s get close to the history of Kuma Shochu!

History as a hideaway

The Kuma region has been ruled by the Sagara (leaf) family for about 700 years since the Kamakura period. It is also a historical place designated as a Japanese Heritage Site in 2015 as “Culture of conservatism and enterprising spirit created in 700 by Sagara – Hitoyoshi Kuma, the richest hideaway in Japan”.

Due to the passage of time as this hideaway, a unique culture different from Kumamoto was developed, and an authentic shochu “Kuma shochu” made from local specialty rice was born.

Shochu made for more than 500 years
Well, in the Kuma region, a hidden village ruled by the Sagara family in 700, it is estimated that shochu production started in the early 16 century in the Muromachi period.

It is said that originally the lord of the domain, Mr. Sagara was actively trading with Southeast Asia and the continent, and there were enough opportunities to bring in distillation technology from China, Korean Peninsula, Southeast Asia, Ryukyu, and so on, and the warm climate was not suitable for sake brewing in Japan, so people actively worked on shochu making and shochu culture developed.

The unique culture of the hidden village and the manufacturing method of shochu from the continent. Kuma Shochu was born from the fusion of these 2, and has been handed down for more than 500 years without any change since then, and its history and tradition have been preserved.

Vibes Point

Kuma Shochu, the favorite of the owner of Glocal BAR Vibes, Noriyuki Yamashita, is 六調子 Roku-Choshi.

Produced by a traditional distillation method, the shochu has been aged at an appropriate temperature for a long time, making it a shochu that truly brings out the full flavor of rice shochu and barrels.

It has a high degree of 35 degrees, but the taste is soft and sweet.
Personally,
After a trip to Kumamoto (Hitoyoshi), I like to drink Roku-choshi slowly while remembering Kumamoto and enjoy the memories and taste of shochu.

Writer

Glocal BAR Vibes / Nori