Sakimoto Distillery & Co.

Common name: 
Sakimoto Distillery
1-25 Shuri Torihori Town, Naha City
Sakimoto Distillery & Co.
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Thorough awamori-making made possible by maintaining traditions nurtured during the Ryukyu period. A popular brand in the local taverns of Shuri.

Shuri was the ancient capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Sakimoto Distillery has been producing awamori ever since it was founded in 1901, and the taste of the distilled liquor has remained unchanged over the years.

Sakimoto is the popular brand name of this distillery. The idea for the name came up when the second owner of the distillery, Masayoshi Sakumoto, met with the head of the Tokyo Taxation Bureau around 1950. (Sakimoto is very close to his name, Sakumoto). Sakimoto has not conceded to the current boom for 'tanrei' type awamori, which is easy to drink and refreshing. Instead, it has pursued a dry taste with a rich flavor and aroma. The distillery has minimized the use of machinery in order to protect the flavor. Even bottling is done by hand. The distillery has also refused to succumb to mass production. The current third owner, Masao Sakumoto, says that the richness of the liquor is most evident when it is drunk straight, from sake cups. The facts that the rice is fermented for 20 to 25 days at low temperatures and the liquor is not shipped till a year later endorse his words. The distillery takes pride in its awamori, and that pride is shared by all the employees with master distiller, Ryoei Shikenbaru. The Sakimoto distillery does not produce awamori-it nurtures it.

Mr. Sakumoto also excels in drawing, and he designs his own labels. He draws illustrations by hand on wooden labels, and gives suggestions on how to best preserve the liquor. Some fans even call the distillery because of their interest in these wooden labels. The distillery also has many fans outside Okinawa. In particular, it receives many orders from Niigata, one of Japan's most popular sake production areas. Sakimoto tastes best on the rocks after a hot bath.