Nakama Distillery

Common name: 
Nakama Distillery
956 Miyara, Ishigaki City
Nakama Distillery
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The illustration on the label of cranes sipping liquor from a gourd container evokes fond memories and a longing to go to paradise.

The Nakama Distillery produces the Miyano Tsuru brand in a village overlooking Miyara Bay, outside Ishigaki City. The distillery is run by its founder, Giichi Nakama, who is now 85 years old. He and his son, Yoshito, continue to produce awamori using traditional methods. It's a business managed by a family of four-father, mother, son, and daughter-in-law. The distillery ships 40,000 liters of Miyano Tsuru every year. Most of it is consumed by local people, and it's become an indispensable brand at all local festivals and gatherings.
Yoshito says that some people say they prefer the brand because it's rather dry, while others say they like it because it's full-bodied. The awamori, with an alcohol content of 30%, has a fruity aroma and a mild taste and is refreshing on the throat. When matured, it becomes kusu with a fuller body.

When the distillery was founded, not long after the end of the war, it faced not only the challenge of securing supplies but also creating a distribution channel. But eventually the distillery was able to establish itself on the island. Its awamori is one that experts on distilled liquor will choose to drink again and again. The owner says he seldom drinks any other brands, and certainly does not analyze the taste of others or compare them with his own brand. He says his only concern is maintaining the quality of Miyano Tsuru. His words seem to imply that he considers his own liquor very carefully.
The distillery owns a stainless tank it purchased out of sanitary concerns, but basically the family produces awamori using traditional techniques. The distillery does not attempt to produce vast amounts, as it believes that the distilled liquor should be enjoyed first and foremost by the local people. Indeed, more awamori from the distillery is sold through direct orders than in stores. The distillery also boasts of great family teamwork and its strong devotion to awamori.