Takamine Distillery, Inc

Common name: 
Takamine Distillery
930-2 Kabira, Ishigaki City
Takamine Distillery, Inc
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Kusu quietly awaits maturity in a distillery that engages in awamori production in a dreamy setting overlooking Kabira Bay.

This distillery is a factory fitted with a lot of glass. It overlooks Kabira Bay, Ishigaki Island, and the distant Omoto mountains. The gallery, constructed by the distillery in 1995, greets visitors with this splendid scenic view. Since its foundation in 1949, the distillery has been engaged in making awamori by hand, and many tourists come to watch the process during the tourist season. The awamori is produced by the second generation owner, Zenshin Takamine, with his brother Zento, the master distiller. The awamori is made from natural water from the Omoto range of mountains. The distiller still uses an iron pot still that is directly heated when distilling the liquor, in order to retain the same flavor as that produced by the founder, Eizo Takamine. In his day, the awamori had no brand name, but was simply called 'beishu'. His son named it Omoto and has continued its production ever since.

No two brands of awamori taste alike, and fans like to track down a favorite brand. The special characteristic of the Takamine brand is that the awamori tastes great when it matures to become kusu. For this to happen, the new liquor must have a distinct smell, as well as a bitter flavor. These features mature during storage, and the liquor produces a full-bodied kusu with a rich aroma.

The distillery has been accepting customers' registrations to own kusu since 1981, and more than 2,000 customers are keeping their awamori in the distillery today. Many tourists buy some awamori and ask the distillery to keep it for them. It should certainly be fun for them to return one day to collect their delicious matured kusu.