Ishikawa Distillery Co., Ltd.

Common name: 
Ishikawa Distillery
Founded: 
1949
Address: 
1438-1 Aza Onaha, Nishihara Town, Nakagami-gun
Tel: 
098-945-3515
Fax: 
098-945-3997
Ishikawa Distillery Co., Ltd.
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A distillery known for preserving the old traditional techniques of awamori-making, using earthenware pots all the way through from preparation to storing.

The Ishikawa distillery follows in the footsteps of one of the 30 master distillers who distilled awamori for the Ryukyu court. The distillery closed in the early 1900s, but was reopened in Shuri in 1949 by Masajiro Ishikawa, who had made awamori for the military during the war in Taiwan.
An increasing number of awamori distillers now use stainless steel vats to prepare kusu. But the Ishikawa distillery continues to use the traditional earthenware pots from the fermentation process onwards, all the way through to storing the aged awamori. The distillery says that the 180-liter pots they use are the perfect size for fermenting the yeast. It says that large pots can result in a rise in temperature to an undesirable level, and not maintain the optimum temperature of 28 degrees Celsius. In addition, the pots nurture a mellow-flavored awamori. In fact, science has now proved how earthenware pots play an important role in creating good quality awamori. It is a kind of wisdom that the people of long ago nurtured through long years of practice.
The present owner, Nobuo Ishikawa, makes awamori in line with the traditional methods. At the same time, he has ventured into the manufacture and sales of health drinks using sake lees; he's a pioneer in the field. A kind of black koji mash vinegar produced from the lees from distilled awamori, did not sell well when it first came out. But it has now become one of the distillery's main products as the interest in healthy natural foods has grown.

In the world of handling food produced from the living creature that is fermentation, the Ishikawa distillery, while keeping alive the old wisdom and skills, believes that natural foods are healthy. This has resulted in the development of both awamori and mash vinegar.