On February 15, the Central Association of Japanese Sake Brewers held a seminar and tasting of authentic shochu and awamori in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, attended by about 30 people, including restaurant owners in the city.
Mr. Teppei Yoshimoto, general manager of Shanghai Shofu Jitsugyo, which imports shochu and sake from Japan to China, gave a lecture on the differences between distilled liquors such as shochu, awamori, whiskey, and white sake, and brewed liquors such as sake, wine, and beer; the position of shochu and awamori in the world distilled liquors; the definition and characteristics of authentic shochu and awamori; the regions of origin and raw materials used in the production of authentic shochu and awamori; and the differences in the quality of the products. The lecture also explained the differences in taste of authentic shochu and awamori depending on the region of origin and ingredients. While listening to the lecture, the participants tasted eight kinds of authentic shochu and awamori.
Participants commented, "Since only Japanese drink shochu (although Chinese drink Japanese sake), we used to sell only shochu brands popular among Japanese people at our stores. I found a shochu that I like," and "I found a shochu I like.
The total export value of alcoholic beverages from Japan to China has continued to increase in recent years, with annual exports of alcoholic beverages in 2021 totaling 32 billion yen, more than 10 times the 2.7 billion yen exported in 2016. Growth in the export value of whiskey and sake has been particularly strong, while the export value of shochu has remained flat or increased slightly.
In Chengdu City, there have not been many types of shochu and awamori handled by restaurants, but through seminars such as this, it is hoped that restaurant managers will learn about the characteristics of shochu and awamori and experience the taste, thereby increasing their stores' handling of these products and raising awareness of authentic shochu and awamori in the city.