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On this edition of The NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias we discuss an important indigenous Japanese spirit – Shochu! Though it’s been around for centuries, you may not know much about it and the incredibly diverse breadth of expressions. We chat with two experts and authors, Christopher Pellegrini and Stephen Lyman, who also operate a Shochu portfolio called, “Honkaku Spirits.”

The NOLADrinks Show – Shochu – 2021Ep12 – Shochu authors and experts Christopher Pellegrini and Stephen Lyman with their terrific publications, The Shochu Handbook and The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks.

Pictured above from left – Shochu authors and experts Christopher Pellegrini and Stephen Lyman with their terrific publications, The Shochu Handbook and The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks.

The NOLADrinks Show – Shochu – 2021Ep12

In our featured interview, we talk with Christopher Pellegrini, author of The Shochu Handbook – the first English language book dedicated wholly to the spirit – and Stephen Lyman, author of The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks – a beautifully presented volume that covers the gambit of Japanese alcohol and drinking culture.

Collectively, Stephen and Christopher have also launched a shochu-driven portfolio called Honkaku Spirits. Through the portfolio, they are dedicated to bringing this important Japanese distillate to the US.

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We discuss various aspects of shochu – from its history and somewhat “murky” origins to the vast array of starches that can be used. We discuss some of the predominant ones, ways the spirit is made, the range of producers from larger ones down to “mom and pop” operations, and much more.

Of course, we taste some excellent expressions from their portfolio and discuss those. We let you know about their publications and how to connect with both Christopher and Stephen and the Honkaku Spirits portfolio. Also, be sure to check out Christopher and Stephen’s excellent podcast, “Japan Distilled!”

Cheers and Be Well, You All!

~ Bryan