In episode 69, Stephen chats with editor in chief of Imbibe Magazine, Paul Clarke, toward the end of their Imbibe in Kyushu Distillery Tour.
CHRISTOPHER PELLEGRINI Vermont born and bred, long-time Tokyo resident and author of The Shochu Handbook, Christopher learned about delicious fermentations as a beer brewer at Otter Creek (Middlebury, VT). He now spends most of his waking hours convincing strangers that shochu and awamori are unlike anything they’ve ever tried before.
STEPHEN LYMAN discovered Japan’s indigenous spirits at an izakaya in New York City. He was so enthralled that he now lives in Japan and works in a tiny craft shochu distillery every autumn. His first book, The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks, was nominated for a 2020 James Beard Award.
Stephen and Christopher love to imbibe in Kyushu, particularly when joined by friends, family, interested guests, and foreign media.
If you have any comments or questions about this episode, please reach out to Stephen or Christopher via Twitter. We would love to hear from you.
Imbibe Magazine’s Paul Clarke
Writing about cocktails and spirits since at least 2005, Seattle resident Paul Clarke currently serves as the editor in chief of Imbibe Magazine. His Book, The Cocktail Chronicles (Spring House Press, 2015) dives deep into America’s cocktail renaissance.
Paul was awarded a Spirited Award in 2014 from Tales of the Cocktail for “Best Writing about Spirits & Cocktails.” He currently hosts Radio Imbibe, a biweekly podcast about all things cocktails and spirits. This was not Paul’s first time, but it was his first time to imbibe in Kyushu.
Imbibe in Kyushu Shochu Tour
Paul joined a Kyushu distillery tour jointly organized by Honkaku Spirits & Japan Distilled and hosted by our co-hosts, Christopher Pellegrini and Stephen Lyman. The tour covered 7 distilleries in 4 prefectures over 6 days. In addition to the distillery visits, there we shochu-focused dinners and bar visits each evening.
Day 1: Welcome dinner in Fukuoka: fried chicken & honkaku shochu.
Day 2: Takahashi Shoten Sake Brewery and Shochu Distillery, sightseeing, izakaya dinner, incredible shochu bar visit.
Day 3: Drive to Hitoyoshi. Visit Takahashi Distillery (makers of Hakutake Shiro and The SG Kome Shochu), visit Jufuku Distillery (makers of Musha Gaeshi), izakaya dinner with master class in rice shochu service.
Day 4: Visit Toyonaga Distillery (makers of Toyonaga Kura), drive to Kagoshima, visit Jikuya Distillery (makers of Jikuya White & Jikuya Black), dinner at Izakaya Yokaban, a self service shochu bar we have talked about many times. After party at two different shochu bars.
Day 5: Visit Chiran Distillery (makers of Chiran Tea Chu), enjoy Shochu Street, the largest outdoor shochu festival in Japan, dinner at Mikan Izakaya, the first izakaya Stephen ever visited in Kagoshima City, drinks at other shochu bars.
Day 6: Drive to Miyazaki, visit Kirishima Distillery, Japan’s largest shochu maker, fly home.
This interview occurred on day 5 before Shochu Street so there is no discussion of Kirishima, but all other distilleries are discussed.
Much More to Explore
As always, there is more to learn from listening to the episode or following Stephen, Christopher, and Paul on social media.