Named after the distillery’s founder, Rihei Ochiai, Ochiai is a 4th generation, family-run distillery that honors the traditions of their 100-year-old past while continuing to evolve as an award-winning shochu producer in the 21st century. While most shochu is made from sweet potatoes, barley or rice, they focus on crafting high quality, small production shochu made from locally grown produce like ginger, pumpkin, bell pepper, and yomogi leaves.


Unconventional shochu displaying undeniably fresh taste.

Behind Rihei

Ochiai Distillery, founded in 1909, specializes in ‘Imo’ sweet potato shochu. The sweet potatoes are sourced from one designated farm that only uses plant-based fertilizers, producing crop with low moisture content. Shochu made from these firm, dense sweet potatoes are smooth to the palate and have a deep taste.

In 2004, Ochiai Distillery started experimenting with unconventional shochus using locally sourced ingredients like yomogi leaves, mugwort, green bell peppers, and other novel ingredients. Eventually, a local farmer brought some of his ginger to Ochiai to see if they would be willing to use it in their now well-known shochus, and thus Rihei Ginger was born.