OKINAWA AWAMORI Distillers Association
History of "Awamori"
"Awamori," The origin of distilled spirits can be traced back to ancient Greece in 300 B.C. An ancient document written by Aristotle, a reputed philosopher of those days, shows that there were distilled alcoholic drink at that time. A distillation apparatus, called an Alembic, was introduced into European and Asian countries by the Arabs. In the 13th or 14th century, distilled alcoholic drink were made using grains, the sap of coco palm or cane in China, Korea and Southeast Asia.

In the early years of the 15th century, the Ryukyu Islands (now Okinawa)enjoyed multilateral trades with China and Southeast Asian countries. (The Ryukyus was an independent kingdom from the 15th through 19th centuries.) Imports included distilled spirits from Thailand (then Siam kingdom). Thai techniques were then introduced into the Ryukyus to create local distilled spirits, named "Awamori." Since then, "Awamori" has been improved and refined to suit the subtropical climate of the Ryukyu Islands, and played an important role in trade as a valuable gift. It was transported to China and Japan by colorful tributary ships, as an unparalleled spirits. In the 19th century, Western vessels from England, France and the U.S. (Commander Perry) visited the Ryukyu Islands, and "Awamori" was served to entertain guests from overseas.

Today, 47 local distillers are devoted to making varieties of "Awamori." Some varieties have been developed to provide a mild taste suitable for women and young people, while traditional varieties continue in popularity. In addition to conventional stainless tank,traditional earthenware pots or casks as a recent attempt are used to ferment "Awamori," providing a diversity of tastes to meet the demands of the times. This reflects Okinawan people's attitudes of having flexibility while respecting traditional values. "Awamori," a treasure of Okinawa, will continue to provide its classic flavor and aroma, while research and development continue to keep up with the times.
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