Government wants to use Okinawa-grown rice for awamori
A project with the aim of making Okinawa-grown rice the staple for brewing Awamori has started with government backing.
Traditionally, almost all awamori is made using Thai rice as the main ingredient, and very few brands of awamori are brewed using rice grown in Okinawa.
Wines and Japanese sake have long raised their added value by emphasizing “terroir” (local characteristics) in their marketing for export overseas.
With the new project, the Japanese government and Okinawa Prefecture will provide grants to farmers who would grow rice to be used for awamori, and will also support awamori production with Okinawa-grown rice.
Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, the Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs named the project the “Awamori Terroir Project.”
A session to introduce and kick off the project was held at the Okinawa General Bureau in Naha on Jan. 27th with representatives of farmers’ cooperatives and awamori breweries attending.
Miyakoshi said, “The present situation is that awamori can’t get recognition overseas if “Thai rice” is listed as one of the original ingredients on the label of an awamori bottle. We want to emphasize the link between awamori and Okinawa with Okinawan rice by the project.”
The Okinawa Prefecture has agreed in principle to set up new support measures using grants to expand production of rice for awamori.