Fukiage Shochu Co. was founded all the way back in 1897 in Kagoshima Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu. Kyushu is one of Japan’s four main islands, and rests just south of the main island of Honshu. Along with Okinawa, Kyushu is the cultural home to shochu. Fukiage specializes in producing shochu from potatoes, both sweet and savory.
Shochu is the national spirit of Japan. It can be made with many different raw ingredients, but sweet potato, barley, and wheat are most common. Often koji mold is used during the fermentation stage to break apart starch chains in the base carbohydrate (potato or barley, for example). Three types of koji are most commonly used and they include black, white and yellow koji. Each reveals a different flavor profile in the end product. Potatoes have long been a staple of Japanese cuisine, believed to have been introduced to Kyushu Island around 1700. They are hearty, have a long shelf life and are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. Kyushu Island produces about 40% of the sweet potatoes consumed in Japan today. Fukiage produces shochu from three potato varieties – Senkinu Kogane, sweet potato, and Chestnut Gold. The last of which is known as the “phantom potato” due to it is difficult cultivation and being relatively unknown.