Brewdog Distilling launches Inugami Shochu

Scottish spirits producer Brewdog Distilling has expanded its portfolio with the launch of its own shochu brand: Inugami.

Shochu is typically made in Japan from a wide range of base ingredients, including rice, wheat and sweet potato, but Brewdog Distilling has put a Scottish twist on the Japanese spirit. Inugami Shochu is made from malted wheat, barley, rice and molasses, the latter of which is pot-distilled twice. Botanicals of rhubarb, galangal root and ginger are then individually distilled with the grain spirit, before being blended with the other distillates to create the final product. The name ‘Inugami’ means ‘spirit of the dog’, which is depicted on the label through the brand’s classic wolf-like dog, surrounded by four Scottish birds. Inugami Shochu has been bottled at 23% ABV. The initial batch of Inugami comprises 3,000 bottles. The shochu is available exclusively at the Roka Shochu Lounge in London until 27 March, when it will be available to buy online at brewdog.com and all Brewdog bars in the UK, priced at RRP £27 (US$35) per 700ml bottle. Brewdog also hopes to launch Inugami in Japan in time for the Tokyo Olympics, set to take place from 24 July until 9 August this year. Inspired by Japan David Gates, managing director of Brewdog Distilling, said: “As a proudly Scottish company, if [Japan is] going to come and copy our whisky, we are going to copy your spirits – and I say that very tongue in cheek with reverence and respect. “[Japan] has shown that someone can come and copy your national drink and do it very, very well, so we want to show that we can do the same. “Steven [Kersley, Brewdog Distilling head distiller] has got lots of whisky maturing. When I joined about eight months ago, we thought let’s get gin and vodka sorted. But our aim was to get more disruptive, more provocative and a bit more quirky. “I lived in Tokyo from 2003 to 2006, and when I lived there it was always shochu [that was] on fire. What’s happened there with shochu is not too dissimilar to gin. For me, it’s such an interesting category. “There are two sides to this: one, it’s a personal passion, and the other is business rational. I really wanted to take the opportunity to educate western consumers about shochu.” Head distiller Kersley and his team explored around 130 different iterations of Inugami before deciding on the final recipe. It is recommended to be sipped neat or with ice, but can also be mixed in cocktails and Highballs. “This is probably the most complex recipe bill we have ever done,” Kersley said. “I hope this is variation one of many shochus to come. “We have got a lot of work to do as a team to continue to educate ourselves on the flavour aspects of shochu. “I am really excited to explore shochu, where we could get a range of different styles, different ABVs, and different flavours.” Last month, Brewdog Distilling revealed plans to turn waste beer into vodka as part of its new sustainability initiative. The company is also planning to expand its spirits focus and build a small distillery in the US.