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Food & Beverage

Japan's shochu capital becomes new hot spot for whisky

Kyushu-based distillers buck tradition to leap into growing market

Shinozaki aims to ship whisky out of its Shindo Distillery starting around 2025. (Photo by Shinya Sawai)

FUKUOKA/KUMAMOTO, Japan -- Traditionally known for its shochu, a clear liquor made from grains, potatoes, sugar cane and more, Japan's southwestern region of Kyushu has become home to a budding whisky industry as craft distillers chase a larger, more global audience.

Surrounded by vegetable fields and rice paddies, Shindo Distillery began producing whisky in the Fukuoka Prefecture city of Asakura in summer 2021. The facility belongs to Shinozaki, a storied barley shochu maker founded in 1922.

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