Kuroki Honten’s shochu-making starts with farming.
We cultivate the land, sow the seeds,
grow and harvest the crop with our own hands.
We even recycle the waste
from shochu production as organic fertilizers,
returning nature’s blessing to its source.
That is how we make shochu
at Kuroki Honten.
Daichi no Kai
– Association of
the Reviving Land
Shochu is a type of liquor that retains the characters of its base ingredient. In order to produce unique, high-quality shochu, Kuroki Honten runs an agricultural organization called “Yomigaeru Daichi no Kai (Association of the Reviving Land)” Through this organization, we grow raw ingredients on over 40 hectares of fields, reuse shochu-kasu (waste from shochu production) as organic fertilizer, and develop shochu using new varieties of ingredients. To feel, respect, and preserve the land by participating in its natural cycle. Shochu production that becomes one with nature: that is the philosophy of Kuroki Honten.
In the art of shochu-making, there is no limit to pursuing the level of water quality. Kuroki Honten uses underground water sourced from the subterranean flow of Omaru River, which originates in the streams of Osuzu Mountain. This soft water is carefully filtered into a quality that is suitable for fermentation and blending.
Koji is the essence of shochu-making. The hand-aging process is crucial to growing quality koji. Raw koji material is sprinkled with water like rain, mixed like soil, warmed like the sun, and cooled like the wind. Like the farming cycle, this careful procedure allows koji to be nurtured through a rich germination and fermentation process.
Kuroki Honten uses pure, home-grown yeast for fermentation. In addition to the different raw materials such as potato, barley and rice, various yeasts are selected for a specific ingredient. This detailed variety is what creates the rich flavors of shochu. Our yeast is cultivated inside a strictly regulated environment, under calculated temperatures that are suitable for the type of shochu being produced.
Wooden barrels are used in the aging process to supply oxygen and protect shochu from drastic temperature changes. Shubo (water, koji and yeast) that have been carefully grown through the primary fermentation are added to the wooden barrels for the secondary fermentation process. In addition to the cultivated yeast, native microbes and lactic acid bacteria that live inside these barrels add layers of complexity to the shochu flavor.
Fermented moromi mash are heated in a pot still, then cooled to extract alcohol and flavor. This process is called“distillation”. The still shape, heat temperature, duration, inner pressure and timing are all elements of a complex combination that produce the unique characteristics of authentic shochu.
Shochu is made with the blessings of nature. Kuroki Honten believes that, at every stage of the process, we must not pollute the environment. In order to eliminate pollution, we recycle the liquid waste caused by shochu distillation into slow-releasing organic fertilizer, which we use to cultivate the soil for growing raw ingredients. Returning nature’s blessings to its source — this is how we make shochu at Kuroki Honten.
Miyazaki Prefecture is known as “the land of sunshine and greenery.” According to the statistics, Miyazaki enjoys an annual average of fifty days of clear weather, which is the highest among other regions in the country. Furthermore, the Koyu District, where the town of Takanabe is located, has been historically known for its quality spring water. Kuroki Honten’s shochu is being made with the blessings of the sun and water. They cannot be produced anywhere else in the country. Our shochu can be made only in the land of Takanabe town, in the Koyu District of Miyazaki Prefecture.