Discovering Satsuma’s Premier Shochu

Food & Drink - March 29th, 2012

Sata Souji Shoten

The name Satsuma shochu is renowned across the world but one distillery in the region can claim a longer heritage than all others; Sata Souji Shoten.

This shochu maker was crowned winner of the Kagoshima-ken, wine and shochu association award and is now a specially protected brand by the WTO.

This artisanal product has a heritage stretching back to Meiji-era Japan and is enjoyed by millions of drinkers each year.

The traditional production methods of the country’s favorite alcohol can be seen firsthand at the brewery’s flagship production facility in Kagoshima. Here, lucky shochu enthusiasts can even take a factory tour and taste their favorite brew as they learn about its creation.

The process for creating Kagoshima’s most famous export is a long laborious one, involving numerous painstaking steps along the way. The scientific process transforms local raw materials, (water, rice and potatoes), into a product worthy of adoration.

Creating process of shochu

The century-old recipes are followed with the care and attention of a master craftsman and if you ever venture to the Kagoshima factory you may even catch a glimpse of the alcohol being stirred or the washi (Japanese paper) labels being applied by hand.

It is this painstaking attention to detail that makes Sata Souji Shoten the leading producer of shochu in Japan.

Passengers of All Nippon Airways international flights may already be familiar with the company’s ‘Katana’ (samurai sword), brand shochu but the company’s mainstay brands; Kakutama, Seikoudoku and Bunise (top picture) are also well worth investigating, with each having a distinct flavor and aroma, delicious on the rocks or with a mixer.

Creating process of shochu

As well as shochu, the first umeshu ‘plum sake’ to be exported from Japan came from Sata Souji Shoten, when two hundred cases were ordered from Los Angeles in 1958.

In fact, if you have ever tasted shochu or umeshu outside of Japan, there is a good chance it can be traced back here.

Today, the company has branched out and produces plum and apricot wines, as well as newly added European style brandies and liqueurs made in stills imported from France, Germany and Italy.

From a locally produced drink, to a globally exported brand, the brewers and distillers of Kagoshima can be proud in the knowledge that their handiwork is available to sip in bars and restaurants across the globe.

Sata Souji Shoten shochu is available from all quality liquor stores and fine hotels.

For inquiries please contact:
Sata Souji Shoten factory, 4910, Beppu Eicho, Minami Kyushu-shi, Kagoshima-ken, 891-0704.

Tel: 0993-38-1121.

Official site: