Sake Nation “Sake Rice Leftover due to the Coronavirus Pandemic: Part 4”

By Kosuke Kuji

We made the decision to continue producing rubbing alcohol indefinitely for the most vulnerable - disabled children needing constant medical care. However, as stable supplies of commercial rubbing alcohol are now available in the market, rubbing alcohol produced by sake breweries have fulfilled its purpose. However, I decided to continue producing rubbing alcohol for local consumption to ensure ample supply is continuously available for disabled children in Iwate prefecture.
To continue production long-term, our brewery license was relaxed to allow production of rubbing alcohol as an exception. In the future however, we must obtain a spirit production license, which requires capital for high-concentration alcohol distillery equipment. Everyone objected to investing in equipment for our rubbing alcohol that hardly generates any sales. However, I’m firm in my decision.
Research on alcohol produced using a spirit production license revealed “gin” is an option.
Recently, craft gin such as “KI NO BI” from Kyoto is gaining popularity in Japan and gradually across the world.
Craft gin can be scented with botanicals characteristic of the local community, thus easy to express locality.
Most importantly as sake brewers, we should expand beyond rubbing alcohol to use our Japanese sake brewery to distill gin, while also producing rubbing alcohol on the side. We made the decision to produce craft gin.
Leftover sake rice is used to create the ingredient - Japanese sake – one time, then distilled to highly concentrated alcohol. Sake left over from this will not necessarily be consumed, but reinvented as gin for consumption.
Our craft gin produced from leftover sake rice will also be released in the U.S., so please stay tuned!

酒豪大陸「コロナで余った酒米 その4」