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Make IMUGE. The second local sake in Okinawa!


[Kanna] I had always wanted to make sweet potato liquor, but I lacked the decisive factor as to why Imo shochu is now in Okinawa. There was no reason to make it. At that time, Mr. Tetsuya Toyokawa of the Prefectural Industrial Technology Center brought in the story of Imge, saying, "I have this kind of sake ...". First of all, I was surprised that there was such a local sake in Okinawa, and I was surprised to taste it again. "Did people in the old days drink such delicious sake?" This can be done! I thought. Any liquor rooted in the history of Okinawa can be energized. That's why I should do it.


[Sunagawa] When I was appointed as the director of the Okinawa Prefectural Sake Brewing Association Youth Club in 2016 and was enthusiastic that "the awamori industry will be tough in the future. I heard. When you think about it, Awamori was originally a sake from Shuri on the main island, but in fact each remote island and each region of the main island had its own sake culture, so if we could commercialize Imge, which embodies the diversity of Okinawan culture. At that time, it was very exciting that it should lead to the development of the sake brewing industry in Okinawa.


[Kanna] IMUGE. Is "local production for local consumption". Full-scale production will increase the demand for sweet potatoes for processing, which will be a great business opportunity for motivated local farmers. In the past, we used to make a lot of sweet potatoes in Okinawa, but nowadays most of them are sugar cane fields because there is no demand. However, since sweet potatoes are originally a crop that suits the climate of Okinawa, they are much easier to produce than other crops. I think that the fact that it does not take time to cultivate is a big attraction for farmers.

[Shimabukuro] We often use the term "local production for local consumption / local consumption for local consumption". This means that by consuming locally produced products, the locals will be energized. Okinawa is one of the best tourist prefectures in Japan, but the tourism industry alone cannot revitalize the region. It cannot be the main industry. Therefore, in the production of IMUGE., The amount of sweet potatoes produced in Okinawa will increase by creating a rule that the sweet potatoes and brown sugar used as raw materials are limited to those produced in Okinawa. Then, various products such as sweets will be developed using it. In this way, the primary and secondary industries push each other up, and the local vitality comes out.


[Kanna] Okinawa is poor in water resources, so large secondary industries cannot be attracted from the outside. When that happens, it's still agriculture. By producing IMUGE., We would like to revitalize local agriculture and lead to further town development. All the local business people have some kind of consciousness that they want to improve the island. We are in a position to tackle that kind of thing, so there is no way we can't take on the challenge.


[Sunagawa] The countryside of Miyakojima is a marginal village. It is said that he is 60 years old and young. The reason for this is that agriculture is no longer available and the next generation will not do it. The countryside of remote islands is becoming more and more obsolete. By working hard on IMUGE., We may be able to give back to such a hometown. And that leads to giving back to the industry, going around and improving their business. Isn't there such a fun thing?


[Kanna] IMUGE. Is an attractive liquor from the perspective of the liquor maker. Amami's brown sugar shochu is a special case, and the current liquor tax law stipulates that sugar cannot be added to shochu. That's why IMUGE., Which contains brown sugar, is classified as spirits instead of shochu under the Liquor Tax Law, but with the addition of "brown sugar" to the elements of "jiuqu" and "sweet potato", the range of sake itself has expanded dramatically. I did. For example, you can increase the amount of brown sugar to make it look like rum, and the taste will change depending on the type of sweet potato, such as red potato, white potato, and orange potato. By changing the three elements, the variation of taste will expand infinitely. I think it's a really attractive sake.


[Sunagawa] From now on, Okinawan sake will be made up of IMUGE. And Awamori, and Awamori wants to compete with old sake. Currently, there are 47 awamori breweries in Okinawa, but if IMUGE.'S success and the revival of awamori left 47 breweries 30 years later, it can be said that our efforts this time were also significant.


[Shimabukuro] Hurdle, high! We're lucky to get things right from the beginning, but as long as we make something delicious, the results will come naturally. In the future, I would like to expand the production of IMUGE. To other breweries, create unique IMUGE. ..

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Local production for local consumption, local consumption for local consumption!

Sweet potato harvest in a newly cultivated field for IMUGE. In the future, the production of IMUGE. Will increase and the sweet potato fields will expand further, revitalizing local agriculture. Young people also work in their hometowns, the town prospers and the brewing industry is enriched. This is the form of "local production for local consumption / local consumption for local consumption" that the IMUGE. Project aims at.


In an era when diversity was being called for, I thought that Okinawan sake wouldn't be fun if it was all about Awamori. Looking back in history, there are actually various types of sake in Okinawa, and Imge was the most beloved sake among the common people. This Imge also includes Chinese brewing technology, which is very interesting from a professional point of view. The modern version of Imge was born by replacing it with the current sake brewing technology. If Kanna didn't show interest in my proposal three years ago, maybe Imge would still be a phantom liquor.

Kanna (right) asked a local farmer to grow sweet potatoes for the full-scale sale of IMUGE. Sweet potatoes used to be the staple food, but now the production is small. "Sweet potatoes are originally a crop that suits the climate of Okinawa, so it should be a great business opportunity for Okinawan agriculture."

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有限会社 今帰仁酒造


大城 洋介


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