Production begins with the intricate preparation and then fermentation of our ‘black koji rice’. Locally harvested rice is meticulously polished to a fine pearl, steamed and coated with a microbe called black koji, which imparts unique flavors, distinctive aromas, and helps to break down starches into sugars. The black koji is given time to propagate over the steamed rice, and must be tended to by the koji master night and day. After several days, it is ready to be mixed with soft spring water from nearby Black Hair Mountain, along with a touch of yeast, which helps to convert the sugars into alcohol. This fermenting mash of ingredients is known as the ‘first moromi’.

Black koji enhances the natural flavors of the rice (and later the barley) and adds to the body, depth and complexity to our Mizu Shochu. Its is also one of the main reasons why the taste of Mizunomai and other shochus are so distinct from all other types of distilled spirits.