Irinamihira Distillery Co., Ltd.

Common name: 
Irinamihira Distillery
144 Aza Yonagumi, Yonaguni Town, Yaeyama-gun
Irinamihira Distillery Co., Ltd.
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The kusu called Maifuna, with an alcohol content of 60 degrees, is a robust spirit, with a deep, sweet, unforgettable flavor.

The distiller broke off from Kokusen Awamori Corporation in 1989 to become the third awamori distiller on Yonaguni Island. The present owner, Nobuyoshi Irinamihira, the third to date, has been preserving the traditions passed on by his grandfather.

The name of the main brand, Maifuna, means 'dutiful, hardworking child' in the local dialect. When Hanazaki liquor was presented to a Ryukyu king about 250 years ago, the king praised it, and a dance called 'Maifuna' was performed to pass the king's appreciation on to the Yonaguni islanders. The Irinamihira Distillery took up the challenge of reproducing the liquor, and produced its own brand, Hanazaki Maifuna.

Hanazaki is a liquor with an alcohol content of 60 percent, and production is permitted only to the distillers on Yonaguni Island. It is made from the first drops of distillate. Legally, it is classified as 'spirits', and not awamori. The distillery has further matured the liquor to produce kusu. It believes that only good new liquor can be made into tasty kusu, so it takes extra care in producing a main mash without acidity. It is a strong liquor, but it is easy to drink, and the sweetness it imparts to the throat is incomparable. It has a noble, yet gentle taste that seems to reflect the features of the land where it was produced and the spirit of the people who created it.