Exploring the Finest: Finalists of the Best in Class Shochu Award from the 2024 San Francisco World Spirits Competition

by The Tasting Alliance Team  |  05.10.2024

Shochu, a traditional Japanese distilled spirit, has been capturing hearts worldwide with its nuanced flavors and rich cultural heritage. Originating from Japan, Shochu is typically crafted from ingredients such as sweet potatoes, barley, rice, or even buckwheat. Its versatility and depth of flavor have made it a beloved beverage not only in its country of origin but also across the globe.

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition has once again shone a spotlight on this revered libation, showcasing the best of the best in the realm of Shochu. Amongst the finalists vying for the prestigious title of Best in Class Shochu, a few exceptional contenders have emerged:

iichiko SAITEN

Produced by iichiko Shuzo in Oita, Japan, iichiko SAITEN is crafted from carefully selected barley and distilled with pristine water from the underground springs of Oita. This Shochu exudes a delicate aroma with hints of pear and white flowers.

Kuro Goho Shochu

Kuro Goho Shochu is made from premium sweet potatoes and distilled using time-honored techniques resulting in a bold and robust flavor profile. With its earthy notes intertwined with subtle hints of caramel and spice, it delivers a deeply satisfying drinking experience that lingers on the palate.

Taragawa Long Maturity Aged Awamori Kuon

Distilled from Thai long grain indica rice and aged for an extended period in traditional earthenware pots, this Awamori exudes refinement. With its complex profiles of oak, vanilla, and a whisper of tropical fruit, it offers a velvety-smooth palate with a gentle warmth that culminates in a lingering, satisfying finish.


Crafted by Yamaguchi Shuzo this Shochu is made exclusively from locally sourced sweet potatoes and distilled with pristine spring water boasting a rich yet mellow flavor profile.

Sakura Ichiban

Crafted from premium barley and infused with cherry blossom petals, this Shochu radiates delicate floral aromas intertwined with hints of almond and marzipan, leading to a palate that is soft and supple, with a gentle sweetness.

As the anticipation builds, Shochu enthusiasts eagerly await the grand reveal of the ultimate winner at the Top Shelf 2024 Awards Gala in October. Until then, these finalists stand as shining examples of the unparalleled craftsmanship and artistry that define the world of Shochu.