Episode-47: The SG Shochu with Joshin Atone

Episode Image

Lately it feels as though we’re teetering on the verge of shochu’s day in the limelight. Japan’s indigenous spirit with about as much market and mindshare as the beverage more commonly associated with the island nation – sake – has been gradually demanding more and more attention amongst some many of the world’s most prolific bartenders, mixologists and connoisseurs of fine spirits. However, despite the category’s all-too-common association at home, the incredibly diverse, distinct and delicious category has struggled to find a way to reach the masses.

With The SG Shochu, internationally renowned bartender and arguably currently the world’s most successful bar owner, Shingo Gokan, and his team at the SG Group are setting out to change that. Should they manage to realize their lofty goals for the product line, and the category itself, shochu could become a staple behind bars around the world…maybe by the time you’re reading this.

And the man responsible for helping lead that charge is long-time SG Group bartender, now The SG Shochu brand manager, Joshin Atone. For this episode, Joshin packed a bottle each of IMO, MUGI and KOME and joined Justin and Sebastien in the studio, where the trio sipped (and guzzled, as you’ll hear) their way through the process of developing a line of shochu from scratch that’s persuasive enough to claim a permanent spot both behind bars across the globe, while communicating what makes the category so unique and special in the first place.

Oh, and Snarky Puppy fans might enjoy this week’s show (and shochu) as well.

This week we’re (finally) back at the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center, recording in the actual physical presence of one another for the first time in a long time. We missed this format! There will still be more online recordings coming down the pipe, but it was a nice reminder of how pleasant – and important – it is to be able to sit down together with our guest, and one another.

Go ahead and pour yourself a glass (or several) and settle in with us on this week’s episode of Sake On Air.

When you’re done, go ahead and  drop us a review on Apple Podcasts, or reach out to us at questions@sakeonair.staba.jp. You can follow our current limited movement on  InstagramTwitter, and Facebook, or join us over on YouTube, as well.

Thanks for listening and we’ll be back with more Sake On Air in a couple of weeks.


Sake On Air is made possible with the generous support of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers Association and is broadcast from the Japan Sake & Shochu Information Center in Tokyo. The show is a co-production between Export Japan and Potts.K Productions, with audio production by Frank Walter.

*Please note that the official theme song for The SG Shochu made by Snarky Puppy is not what is playing in this week’s show. You’ll likely have to wait just a bit more for that.

Our theme, “Younger Today Than Tomorrow” is composed by forSomethingNew for Sake On Air.