Masahiro Distillery was founded in 1883 by Shobun Higa, whose father Shozoku Higa was the Master Chef for the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom. With the help of Shozoku Higa’s reputation and connections, the distillery was awarded the license to make the traditional Okinawan spirit ‘awamori’ and has since established itself as one of the oldest and largest distilleries in Okinawa. Shozoku’s passion for cuisine can be found alive and well today in Masahiro Distillery’s company philosophy for producing only the best liquors.
Enhancing tradition with modern business philosophy, Masahiro Distillery is the first Okinawan distillery to be certified for ISO 9001 (the international standard for a quality management system), while its scenic environs have attracted tourists and spirit enthusiasts alike. In 2018, the eighth-generation owner Masayasu Higa successfully launched Okinawa Gin, their first foray into craft whisky and the start of their ambition to become one of the top global producers of premium whisky.
Awamori is made from long grain Thai rice which is inoculated with black koji mould, fermented and then distilled. Masahiro Awamori undergoes ‘hybrid distillation’: two Awamori are distilled – one from a horizontal pot still, the other from a vertical pot still – and blended. Using this ‘hybrid distillation’ technique and five, uniquely Okinawan botanicals (+juniper) a truly tropical & terroir- driven gin is born.
Juniper berry is a common botanical for gin. We believe the most important point when creating Okinawa’s first gin is to perfectly match this juniper berry with the botanical unique to the tropics. We chose the citrus, Shekwasha to support the main flavor of the juniper berry. The compatibility of these two botanicals matched very well, and their synergy had maximized the quality of its flavor. The other four botanicals were also carefully selected which are unique to Okinawa with comfortable tropical flavor.