Tamanaha Distillery Factory

Common name: 
Tamanaha Distillery
63 Aza Yoshihara, Chatan Town, Nakagami-gun
Tamanaha Distillery Factory
Share this

This 108-year-old establishment, which has developed the quality kusu called Chatan Cho-ro, is a rare distiller based in Chatan, a modern town.

This distillery set up its own business in 1894 based on the original company founded in Shuri in 1850. The distillery later moved to Chatan in the central part of the Okinawan main island. It is the only awamori maker in Chatan, and is much loved by the local people. Its leading brand is the Chatan Choro, a very popular kusu of such rarity it is virtually unobtainable.
The distillery is operated by a family of four plus several part-time workers, so it cannot ship in large quantities. It also chooses to spread its brand name by word of mouth, rather than through advertising. That is why its kusu is so hard to get. It is a distillery like this that gives awamori fans access to top quality awamori that is only produced in small quantities.

The present owner, Kenichi Tamanaha worked for the Okinawa Prefectural Government before he took over the family business after his father fell ill. He grew up giving a hand with the awamori-making, and worked in the distillery on weekends to learn the art. The quality of awamori can easily be affected by a slight change in weather, particularly a change in temperature, and Mr Tamanaha recalls a time when a typhoon brought a blackout to the area. He says the family spread the yeast out on the floor and tossed it into the air to prevent the temperature of the yeast from rising. These days, Chatan is drawing attention as the most trendy commercial area for the younger generation and families. But, at the same time, the town is home to a distillery that has preserved and nurtured old traditions. Chatan Cho-ro, named after a famous Zen Buddhist priest of the Rinzai Myoshinji sect, will certainly be loved as a rare liquor known only by a few fans for many years to come.