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Shinzato Shuzo

Okinawa, Japan

As the oldest distillery in Okinawa (Ryukyu) Island, Shinzato Distillery's legacy dates back to 1846 when a handful of families in 3 villages of Shuri were given the honour by the Ryukyu Kingdom monarchy to make traditional local spirits called awamori. As one of the appointed distilleries, Shinzato family started their great quest to craft the best spirits for the ancient royalty under the name KANEKO, and it remains today the only operating distillery from that time.

Founded in 1846, descended from Shuri Sanka, Shinzato Shuzo inherits traditional method and spirit from 160 years ago. It is said that Shinzato is the oldest distillery extant, and the products varies from new to vintage awamori, and also plum liqueurs; the distillery has received many awards. Shinzato Shuzo is said to be the oldest existing Okinawan distillery. Their brewing methods have been guarded by generations for more than 170 years, and are believed to continue to inherit the historical and cultural values of the Okinawan craftsmanship monument.

During Ryukyu era, awamori, a special type of Okinawa distilled alcohol, was produced and controlled by the Ryukyu Kingdom. There was an area known as the awamori village Shuri Sanka, which refers to three districts Akata, Sakiyama, and Torihori. Awamori was recognized as an important contribution of the palace to the Tokyo’s Tokugawa Shogunate and Chinas’ imperial authority. The Ryukyu monarchy even granted limited awamori-making permits for distilleries that were only built in Shuri Sanka and allowed only 30 to 40 people live in the village. Shinzato Shuzo was recognized as one of them and has been passed down to its seventh generation. 

The 7th generation distiller, Naoya Shinzato, is a young and passionate Master Blender, who takes traditional craftsmanship to another level that is both balanced and exciting, with the vision to reinvent a unique flavor that is true to Ryukyu island.

 

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