Mizuho introduces Ie Island specialty lily awamori

Mizuho Shuzo Co., Ltd., an awamori maker in Shuri, Naha City, has developed a new awamori labeled “Ie no Hana.” The new awamori fermented by using flower yeast separated from the Easter lilies on Ie Island.

The fist batch of the new awamori went for sale at “the 22nd Ie Island Lily Festival 2017” that started Apr. 22nd. The distillery says the novelty kind of yeast gives it a fresh and fruity flavor matching the image of the lilies and Ie Island.

Misako Tamanaha, the president of Mizuho Shuzo, said, “We hope tourists and residents on Ie Island become familiar with our new awamori.”

The brewery received a donation of lilies in 2014, and started a study under guidance of Hisayasu Nakata, a professor emeritus of the Junior College of Tokyo University of Agriculture. The problem was, flower yeast contains little yeast to make alcohol efficiently.

Hiroaki Oshiro, a director and production manager at the distillery who took part in the project to separate and cultivate the yeast good for awamori making, said, “Matching awamori and the yeast is a miracle and a gift from nature.”

People participating in the project spent considerable time to focus on finding the best temperature to fermentation and make alcohol efficiently, and to commercialize the process.

Ie Village Mayor Hideyuki Shimobukuro is pleased with the birth of the new awamori, and said, “For Ie Island, an awamori made with lily yeast from Ie Island is tryly a local awamori. We hope residents on the island enjoy it and hope the awamori will be a trigger for promoting Ie Island.”

The “Ie no Hana” awamori will be sold at Mizuho Brewery in shop in Naha and outlets on Ie Island. The distillery will also sell and promote it at product exhibition events in mainland Japan.