Future Prospects for
Kuma Shochu

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The Future of Kuma Shochu
~Fukuda-syuzou From Now ~

In the 500-year history of Kuma shochu, Fukuda Syuzou established in the Showa period, is still a new distillery, struggling daily to make shochu that is competitive in the world.
In the past, the method used to make Kuma shochu was called atmospheric distillation, in which the malt was raised to a high temperature. The shochu produced from this process was characterized by the strong aroma and a rich flavor of rice oil. In the 1970s reduced-pressure distillation, in which the distillate is distilled at a lower temperature, was invented. It became more popular because it delivers a refreshing and crisp tasting shochu.
Fukuda Syuzou also introduced reduced-pressure distillation in 1984, and 'Yamakawa' was born. Both normal-pressure and reduced-pressure distillation have their own merits, and the tastes of the drinkers differ.
Fukuda Syuzou has been consumed mostly within the prefecture, mainly in the Hitoyoshi Kuma region, but is now aiming to expand its sales channels outside the prefecture, as well as outside of Japan. The barrel-aged 'Tarumikoshi' in particular, is an unusual product that combines the characteristics of shochu with those of Western-style sake. Mr. Miyazaki, the toji, is enthusiastic, saying "I hope this exhibition is an opportunity to introduce our shochu to the rest of the country."  Beyond that, he hopes to create a shochu that can compete in the United States and Europe, the homes of Western-style alcohol.