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- Product Specification of Geographical Indication “球磨（Kuma）”
Ⅰ Matters relating the characteristics of liquor which is essentially attributable to its geographical origin
- (a) Characteristics of liquor
“Kuma” which is a pot distillation shochu, usually has the mild sweet taste of rice and a refreshing flavor. Furthermore, products made with atmospheric distillation exude an aromatic bouquet characteristic of rice and those produced using reduced-pressure distillation exude a fruity bouquet.
- (b) Essential attribution of its geographical origin to characteristics of liquor
- (1) Natural factor
Kuma district in Kumamoto Prefecture and Hitoyoshi city in the same prefecture are situated in the Kuma basin surrounded by mountains in the central area of Kyushu, and despite the low longitude, the average temperature in winter is low and the temperature variation is high. It has many days of heavy fog, and in such an environment fermentation at low temperatures and storage in a suitable environment are possible, making it a suitable area for production of shochu with a refreshing bouquet.
In addition, the water in the Kuma river system that flows through the Kuma basin is soft water suitable for shochu production, and “Kuma” retains the mild sweetness of rice through the use of water from this region.
Furthermore, the Kuma basin experiences high variations in temperature and is endowed with an abundant and high quality supply of water from the Kuma river, making it one of the leading areas for growing good quality rice in Kumamoto prefecture.
- (2) Human Factor
It is said that as the Kuma basin is blessed with abundant sources of water and plentiful rice production, the area has been able to keep producing shochu from rice since the era rice came to be valued. Furthermore, as it was an isolated region with the basin closed off deep in the mountains, rice was not subject to exploitation by outsiders. While in other regions production of shochu from rice was restricted due to famine and other reasons and people made liquor from ingredients other than rice, the brewers of Kuma were able to keep on producing shochu from rice.
The brewers of Kuma continued to be particular about using only rice as an ingredient in their shochu, and the current “Kuma” can be said to have its origin in such history, as the brewers pursued the flavor of Kuma and passed on their techniques.
As the rare visitors to the area were treated to “Kuma”, it became known as “high quality liquor from a mysterious land”.
Ⅱ Matters relating to ingredients and production method of liquor
It is necessary for the following criteria to be satisfied in order to use the geographical indication “Kuma”.
- (a) Ingredients
- (1) The grains used is rice grown in Japan.
- (2) The koji rice used is only rice koji made from rice grown in Japan.
- (3) Water collected in Kuma district in Kumamoto prefecture or Hitoyoshi city in the same prefecture.
- (b) Production method
- (1) The fermentation of ingredients and distillation are performed in Kuma district, Kumamoto prefecture or Hitoyoshi city of the same prefecture.
- (2) It is made from moromi made by fermenting ingredients including rice, rice koji and water which is distilled in a pot still; provided however that this is limited to products where the primary moromi made from rice koji and water has rice koji and water added to it and is fermented further.
- (3) If it is stored in the production process, storage is in Kuma district, Kumamoto prefecture or Hitoyoshi city of the same prefecture.
- (4) The product is filled in Kuma district, Kumamoto prefecture or Hitoyoshi city in the same prefecture in the containers in which it will be delivered to consumers.
Ⅲ Matters relating to management for maintaining the characteristics of liquors
In order to use the geographical indication “Kuma”, it is necessary to receive confirmation from the following organization (hereinafter “Control Body”) in accordance with the Work Implementation Guidelines prepared by such Control Body, regarding whether or not the liquor for which such geographical indication will be used satisfies the “Matters Relating to Ingredients and Production Method of Liquor”.
Name of Control Body: Kuma Shochu Management Committee
Address: 5-1 Fumoto-machi, Hitoyoshi city,
Kumamoto prefecture, Kuma Shochu Cooperative
Phone number: 0966-22-5059
Ⅳ Matters relating liquor classes
Pot distillation shochu (Article 3, Item10 of the Liquor Tax Act)