Ryusen Distillery & Co.

Common name: 
Ryu-sen Distillery
222 Nakaoji, Nago City
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The maturity and mildness of the black yeast called hine-koji, typical of this distillery located in the scenic Nakijin castle ruins, produces a lovely fruity distilled liquor.

The Ryusen Distillery was founded in 1939 in Haneji Village, now the city of Nago. It was one of the breweries that were designated as a public factory by the Okinawa government immediately following the war, in an effort to halt the illicit manufacture of liquor.
The post-war era was a time of food shortages. Many people drank methyl alcohol, used in factories, or alcohol intended for heating purposes, mixed with water. The Okinawa government drew up plans to establish public factories to produce safe liquor to supply to the people. The plan was carried out under the control of the Financial Department of the Okinawa Advisory Committee.
Magokichi Ohshiro, the previous owner of the distillery, is said to have reopened the factory by collecting distilling equipment, drums, earthenware pots and other bits and pieces. At that time, the Ryusen distillery went by the name of Haneji Distillery. The distillery has continued to produce awamori using the tasty and refreshing natural water from the Yanbaru area and its leading product is Ryusen. The elegant and rich aroma with a mild taste which does not leave an unpleasant aftertaste are the major feature of this liquor, thanks to the traditional hine-koji technique. Using the aged black koji mold called hine-koji makes possible the production of awamori with a strong flavor. The stronger the taste and characteristics of newly-distilled awamori, the better the taste will be once it has matured.
The present owner, Tessei Ohshiro, has been working hand-in-hand with his brother, a master distiller with 25 years of awamori-making experience. His brand, Ryusen, represents authentic awamori. His motto is that "superb koji-making and fine moromi (the main mash)" are indispensable factors in the creation of kusu with a rich aroma.