Japan Eats

Boozehound: Satsuma Musou Distillery

Christopher Pellegrini visits Satsuma Musou Distillery in Kagoshima City

Doing the research part of writing a book is arduous, especially when there aren’t any resources available in one’s own language. I’ve read nearly everything that exists on the subject written in Japanese, but there just really isn’t that much content out there in general.

So I decided to go straight to the source. Kyushu, that is. Because I’m writing a book about shochu.

Mai Miyauchi of Satsuma Musou Shuzo.

Mai Miyauchi of Satsuma Musou Shuzo.

About a 20 minute walk from Goino train station in Kagoshima City is Satsuma Musou Distillery. Partly supported by the prefectural government, this distillery is an ideal place for tourists as it has a well-planned tour and large gift shop/tasting area. Much to my surprise, I was treated to a tour of the facilities entirely in English by the knowledgeable Mai Miyauchi who has gone so far as to attend industry-related classes at Kagoshima University.

The distillery that we toured is a smaller operation set up for the benefit of tourists. They were still working on batches of imo shochu even though the season ended in February or March for most other distilleries in Kyushu. This meant that we were still able to see the workers unload check frozen potatoes before they were dropped into the steamer. We also had a chance to see the mash bubbling away at different stages of fermentation in open earthenware pots half submerged in the facility’s concrete floor.

And of course, we sampled several of the distillery’s liquid treats. Even if you can’t travel to Satsuma Musou in Kogoshima Prefecture, you can probably find their Satsuma Musou ‘Red Label’ (Aka Raberu) or Kuro Mugi at finer liquor shops around Japan.

Satsuma Musou is recommended as an introduction to the complex process of making Japan’s wonderful distilled drink, shochu.

Website (Japanese): http://www.satsumamusou.co.jp/

About Christopher
Christopher is a certified Shochu Sommelier (SSI and FBO) and author of "The Shochu Handbook" (Telemachus, 2014). He also hosts JE's Japan Booze Blind video series and tireless alcademic (his word for alcohol nerd/otaku/academic), You can find him on Twitter, IMDb, or at a CAST Meetup.

Comments

2 Responses to “Boozehound: Satsuma Musou Distillery”
  1. Christopher says:

    The tasting room/gift shop at Satsuma Musou is quite good. You can try most of the labels before buying them, and the selection is excellent.

  2. maki miyauchi says:

    hi, thanks for featuring my sister Mai on your website, she liked this picture of herself so much that she said if something happens to her she wants to be remembered by this image! well, she is putting a lots of strain on her liver, she takes her job too seriously, I’d say take it easy with shochu drinking sis!

    you might be wondering why she speaks English, she developed an obsession with Harry Potter 10years ago so learnt English to read it in Original.

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