Hateruma Distillery

Common name: 
Hateruma Distillery
156 Aza Hateruma, Taketomi Town, Yaeyama-gun
+81 980-85-8332
Hateruma Distillery
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A simple and friendly awamori, much loved by the local people

Hateruma is the only distillery on Hateruma Island, Japan's southernmost island. It was originally founded by local people as a joint project in 1952. The business is now run by the second owner, Tadao Hateruma, and his wife. When the distillery was set up, it used awa (foxtail millet) to produce the awamori, and so the liquor was named Awanami ('Waves of Millet'). It has a distinct flavor and aroma-made possible by the water on the island, which has a salty texture-and somewhat resembles the Chinese liquor Mao Tai. It is a regular liquor, but has the texture of young kusu. It is easy to drink and mellow.

This was originally a liquor made by the locals for the locals. There is also a certain limit to how much liquor a single distillery can produce, especially when it maintains the traditional production methods. It has now become hard to come by even for local people, because the popularity has spread to outside the island.
The distillery does not sell directly at all; the products are only available in stores. However, the liquor never reaches the shelves, because so many people order it in advance. That means it is not an easy liquor for tourists to get hold of. The locals seem to want tourists to acknowledge this, and thereby appreciate it as a liquor with limited access.

The unavailability has certainly boosted the popularity of the liquor: it is nice to have something to look forward to, something to want to get hold of, eventually! We hope that the quality of the liquor fostered by the natural properties of the souhrnmost island known as 'Petit Rome' will have remained unchanged by the time we get hold of a bottle ourselves!