Our guest is Kotaro Hamada who is the 6th generation of Hamada Shuzo in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. Hamada Shuzo has been making shochu, the Japanese traditional spirit, since 1868.
Hamada Shuzo’s quality is highly recognized not only in Japan but also abroad and its shochu brands called Daiyame 25 and Daiyame 40 have received multiple prestigious awards, including the Gold Medal for Daiyame 40 at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in 2022.
Japanese sake has once lost its popularity domestically due to various reasons such as declining alcohol consumption among the younger generations, competitive products such as wine and craft beer and the labor shortage. But thanks to the popularity of Japanese food abroad, Japanese sake has been repositioning itself in the market both in Japan and overseas.
Shochu, however, is still an unknown beverage outside the country and the shochu industry has been striving to make it recognized as a precious spirit in the international market.
So today, we will discuss what shochu is, the regionally diverse characteristics of shochu, how the younger generations of shochu makers like Kotaro are trying to introduce the beautiful Japanese tradition to the world, and much, much more!!!
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