Mugi Shochu – Widespread manufacturers, Historical past, Shops and On-line shops


Welcome to the world of mugi shochu, a conventional Japanese spirit with a wealthy historical past and a novel attribute that we’re about to discover on this article. So, what sort of liquor is that this within the first place, and what sort of appeal does mugi shochu have? This time, we are going to introduce the essential data of shochu, the traits of the sort of shochu, and the way to drink it.


What’s Mugi Shochu?

Intro about Shochu

Earlier than we dive into what units barley shochu aside, let’s start with the fundamentals: what precisely is shochu?

In Japan, there exist two conventional kinds of alcoholic drinks: “sake” and “shochu.” The first distinction between them lies of their manufacturing strategies. Sake, also called “brewed sake,” is created by way of the fermentation of uncooked rice, adopted by urgent. Alternatively, shochu is a “distilled liquor” made by fermenting varied uncooked supplies akin to wheat, rice, and potatoes earlier than present process distillation. Whereas “brewed sake” derives its taste straight from rice and is pressed as is, “distilled liquor” undergoes a distillation course of.

Shochu might be categorized into two teams based mostly on the distillation approach: “single distilled shochu” and “steady distilled shochu.” Barley shochu falls below the one distilled class, using a single distillation course of leading to an alcohol content material of 45 levels or much less. This technique preserves the distinct aromas and flavors of the uncooked supplies. When particular substances like wheat, rice, or potatoes are employed for single distilled shochu, it’s known as “honorable shochu.”

Conversely, “steady distilled shochu” is produced by way of an ongoing distillation course of, yielding an alcohol content material of lower than 36 levels. This number of shochu boasts a transparent and delicate taste, making it a preferred selection for crafting fruit-infused drinks like chuhai and plum wine.

To search out particulars about Shochu, click on right here.

What’s Mugi Shochu?

Mugi shochu (or barley shochu) is among the prime three shochu varieties, alongside potato shochu (imo shochu) and rice shochu (kome shochu). The substances used to make mugi shochu are “barley,” “koji,” and “water.”

Predominant manufacturing areas

Barley shochu, primarily constituted of barley, finds its manufacturing facilities in Iki Island and Oita Prefecture in Nagasaki Prefecture, attracting consideration for its numerous flavors. Iki Island, typically thought to be the birthplace of barley shochu, produces “Iki Shochu,” acknowledged as a “geographical indication” by the WTO. Oita Prefecture, however, is thought for its lighter barley shochu manufacturers akin to “Oita Mugi Shochu Nikaido” and Sanwa Shuzo’s “Iichiko.”

“Iki Shochu” stands out for utilizing rice because the koji uncooked materials and mixing wheat and rice koji in a 2:1 ratio, capitalizing on Iki’s ample grain sources. In distinction, “Oita barley shochu” primarily depends on barley koji, with the emergence of 100% barley shochu within the Nineteen Seventies, which drove the second shochu growth within the Nineteen Eighties. The attraction of barley shochu lies in its fruity aroma and crisp style, making it a preferred selection for novices attributable to its approachable nature and affordability.

Featured flavors

“Iki Shochu” with rice koji gives a pleasant mixture of sentimental rice sweetness and barley aroma, whereas “Oita barley shochu” with barley koji boasts a refreshing, wheat-centric style. Each varieties complement a variety of dishes, making them versatile food-friendly liquors. Amongst mugi shochu, the “barley chocolate kind” explores the barley aroma and has attracted a loyal following.

Elements of Mugi Shochu


Kyushu is a thriving hub for actual shochu manufacturing, boasting round 300 distilleries scattered all through the area. These distilleries craft shochu with distinctive flavors utilizing the bountiful crops grown domestically. The varied substances discovered listed here are a key attraction of real shochu, intently intertwined with the native tradition.

Oita Prefecture, house to Sanwa Shurui, is traditionally identified for its lively barley cultivation, making it a pure birthplace for barley shochu manufacturing. “Nijo barley” is the barley of selection for making mugi shochu and can be a uncooked materials for beer and whiskey. Remarkably, you’ll be able to produce about 1.8 liters of barley shochu with an alcohol content material of 25 levels from simply 1 kilogram of barley.


“Koji” is a product that fosters koji mould in grains like wheat and rice. This mould does one thing fairly cool – it transforms the starch in these grains into sugar. Shochu molasses is made by taking that sugar and turning it into alcohol with the assistance of yeast. Furthermore, koji groups up with yeast to create a variety of savory and fragrant parts, including depth to the flavour of shochu.

In the case of “Iichiko,” a sort of barley shochu, they use “barley koji.” This implies they add koji mould to steamed Nijo barley to create barley koji, which performs an important function within the manufacturing of this explicit shochu.


The saying “the place there’s well-known water, there’s well-known sake” rings true in the case of crafting scrumptious barley shochu. Much like quite a few sake breweries positioned close to rivers boasting wonderful water high quality and ample water sources, the “Iichiko” manufacturing website rests in a pure setting, making use of mild, high-quality groundwater in its processes. This groundwater displays a “barely gentle” attribute, with a hardness degree of round 60 mg/l.

This kind of water is good for sake manufacturing, containing decrease ranges of “iron,” “manganese,” and “natural matter,” which might be detrimental to shochu manufacturing. As a substitute, it’s wealthy in mineral elements that nourish the yeast throughout the fermentation course of, contributing to the prime quality of the ultimate product.

The variations between Mugi Shochu and Whiskey

Maturation technique

Whiskey and barley shochu, each primarily barley-based distilled liquors, exhibit variations of their maturation strategies. Whiskey matures in picket barrels, gaining an amber coloration and distinctive flavors throughout this getting old course of. It begins as a transparent and clear liquid. Alternatively, barley shochu adheres to strict rules stopping it from taking up an amber hue akin to whiskey. Consequently, it normally matures in chrome steel tanks or ceramic vessels, versus picket barrels.

Manufacturing course of

Whiskey and barley shochu each use barley as their major ingredient, they usually observe an analogous manufacturing course of with widespread levels akin to saccharification, fermentation, distillation, and getting old. Nonetheless, what distinguishes them are the alternatives in maturation strategies and substances used within the saccharification course of.

Enzymes and substances

One notable distinction between whiskey and barley shochu facilities round their saccharification processes. Whiskey employs “malt” enzymes obtained from sprouted barley, which activate the pure enzymes throughout the barley by way of germination. In distinction, shochu is guided by totally different rules, particularly the Liquor Tax Legislation, which prohibits the usage of sprouted grains in its manufacturing. Consequently, shochu depends on “malt” enzymes, often known as koji, for saccharification. This distinction between “malt” and “malt” has a substantial influence on the flavour profiles of whiskey and shochu.

Historical past

Historical past of Shochu

Shochu manufacturing in Japan has a wealthy historical past, with distillation expertise launched within the mid-Muromachi interval (fifteenth century). The time period “shochu” emerged within the mid-Sixteenth century, with the earliest documented point out in 1546, suggesting that the methods have been possible transmitted to Kyushu throughout the Sixteenth century.

From the Muromachi interval to the Meiji interval, shochu manufacturing in Japan concerned single distillation, particularly Otsu-rui shochu, distilled solely as soon as utilizing a “Randaki” or Kabutama-style shochu distiller.

In 1826, throughout the Edo interval’s finish, Scotland’s Robert Stein developed a prototype, resulting in the invention of the “steady distiller” in 1830, improved and developed by Enius Cafe in Eire, and patented. This innovation allowed for mass manufacturing of whiskey.

Subsequently, the Ilges steady distiller, enhanced in England, was imported to Japan in 1895. This steady distiller facilitated the extraction of pure alcohol with out impurities, giving rise to Ko-class shochu.

Historical past of Mugi Shochu

Introduction of Shochu to Japan

Shochu made its approach to Japan over 500 years in the past, marking the place to begin for the historical past of barley shochu. Its origins are numerous, with potential influences from Thailand to Ryukyu (Okinawa), Korean distilled liquor, and even piracy in southern China. The oldest identified point out of “shochu” dates again to 1559 in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The Beginning of Barley Shochu

Across the Sixteenth century, barley shochu emerged, with manufacturing commencing on Iki Island in Nagasaki Prefecture. Again then, folks used to make use of rice and wheat as nengu, a type of taxation. Barley was excluded from nengu, resulting in its surplus use as a staple for shochu manufacturing. Throughout this time, folks additionally started to make use of for koji manufacturing throughout this time.

Evolution of Barley Shochu Elements

The historical past of genuine barley shochu is comparatively latest. Its manufacturing methods are akin to different spirits like Awamori, Kasutori Shochu, Ameya Shochu, and rice shochu. Nonetheless, the selection of uncooked supplies and koji has developed over time. Initially, barley shochu was made by mixing barley with wheat koji. Within the Meiji interval, rice was launched to koji manufacturing, progressively increasing its use. Black koji was launched in Iki in 1941, considerably reworking shochu preparation. Iki barley shochu earned a geographical indication designation from the WTO in 1995, defining “Iki shochu” as “two-thirds barley and one-third rice malt.”

Mugi Shochu FAQ

What’s the major distinction between atmospheric stress distillation and decompression distillation in shochu manufacturing?

Atmospheric stress distillation retains the uncooked materials’s traits and flavors, whereas decompression distillation produces a gentle aroma and a clear, impurity-free style in shochu.

How does the getting old course of have an effect on the traits of shochu?

Getting older shochu for 1-3 months after distillation will help mellow the spirit, cut back any gas-like odors, and create a smoother, extra fragrant drink. Longer getting old intervals can additional deepen the richness of the shochu.

The best way to make Mugi Shochu?


Koji Cultivation

Start by cultivating koji, utilizing barley and rice, with spring koji micro organism. This step is important for saccharification, and every brewery has its personal strategies.


Steaming the Grains

Steam barley and rice for about an hour to arrange for koji manufacturing. After steaming, koji micro organism are launched to the grains.


Making Koji

The koji-making course of sometimes entails induction, spreading and mixing (often known as “床 momi”), slicing again, serving, temperature adjustment (“仲 job”), and ultimate work.


Main Fermentation

Mix the ready koji with water and the principle substances (barley, rice, or potatoes) to create “major moromi.” This combination ferments for 5-7 days, fostering the expansion of high-purity yeast, enzymes, and citric acids.



Mugi shochu is distilled utilizing the one distillation technique, which incorporates atmospheric stress distillation and decompression distillation methods. Atmospheric distillation retains the uncooked materials’s traits, whereas decompression distillation yields a gentle aroma and a clear style, freed from impurities.


Getting older

After distillation, shochu is saved and aged for 1-3 months, with the selection of container influencing the ultimate product’s traits. Chrome steel tanks, turtle shells, and barrels are generally used.


Mixing, Water Cut up, and Filtration

Mixing entails mixing aged undiluted shochu with different tank shochu. Water is added to regulate the alcohol degree, and filtration is employed to take away impurities and stabilize the sake’s high quality.



Shochu is bottled in varied sizes, starting from 1-sho bottles to small ones. The ultimate product is prepared for distribution and consumption.

Eating places/ Shops


“IMADEYA GINZA” in GINZA SIX at Ginza 6-chome is a spot for anybody who loves Japanese liquor tradition. We have now an amazing number of Japanese sake, wine, craft shochu, gin, and particular vessels. Our retailer connects makers and clients from all around the globe. It’s a spot to take pleasure in and share the artwork of liquor-making and create a shiny future. Come go to us on the 2nd basement flooring of GINZA SIX.

Deal with: 104-0061 GINZA SIX B2F, 6-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Cellphone quantity: 0570-015-111
Enterprise hours: 10:30-20:30
Web site:

On-line retailer

For individuals who wish to order or purchase Mugi Shochu in Japan, you’ll be able to mail it to your own home on-line on Rakuten. You may try some retailers that promote them by way of Rakuten by clicking under.

And for individuals who wish to order or purchase however stay away from Japan. You may ship them from Rakuten by following the steps under. Rakuten gives Worldwide Transport Service, so don’t worry about the way to obtain your gadgets. Rakuten International Specific is a web based purchasing service that permits customers to buy at shops in Japan.


First, you want a Rakuten ID. In case you are already a Rakuten member, you can begin utilizing Rakuten International Specific. You probably have not registered but, click on right here.

Get your private RGX handle

After signing up, you’re going to get a Japanese handle: a Rakuten International Specific handle.

Store at shops in Japan

Now that you simply get your self a private RGX handle (Rakuten International Specific handle). You may store on-line in Japan, click on right here to buy Ochazuke (not solely Rakuten however different on-line shops are additionally included).

 When you’ve determined in your gadgets, set the supply handle to your Rakuten International Specific handle.

Affirm gadgets

After gadgets are shipped to the RGX handle, they are going to be packed into one package deal. You additionally obtain an e mail upon confirming this stuff and cost.

As soon as the cost is confirmed, your package deal might be delivered inside a chosen interval relying in your delivery selection.


On this article, we realized about barley shochu, a novel Japanese spirit. Barley shochu is single distilled and carries the distinct flavors of its uncooked substances. With an alcohol content material of 45 levels or much less, it’s often known as “honorable shochu.” In distinction, steady distilled shochu gives a milder taste. You may discover these choices in specialty shops, liquor retailers, or on-line. So, why not start your shochu journey at present? Cheers!

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