SG Shochu from Bar Veteran Shingo Gokan Launches in U.S.

SG Group, in partnership with High Road Spirits, is excited to announce the U.S. launch of The SG Shochu. Founded by Japan’s Shingo Gokan, one of the bar industry’s most influential figures, SG Group is introducing three expressions: Kome (rice), Imo (sweet potato), and Mugi (barley). The lineup rolls out this September in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as part of a U.S. road tour hosted by Shingo. The SG Shochu (SRP $75/750 ml) will be available for purchase in New York, California, and Illinois first, with Florida, Washington, Minnesota, Texas, and Colorado to come.  sg shochu

“This project has been several years in the making with the goal of reaching the cocktail market in the U.S., so this launch means a lot for The SG Shochu,” says Shingo Gokan, founder, SG Group. “As the shochu category gains traction in the bartender community outside of Japan, we believe The SG Shochu has achieved a balance between expressivity and versatility that no other product on the market yet offers. We are certain this lineup will find a home in some of the most creative bars in the industry, and are eager to see what kind of cocktails and expressions will come out of the U.S. bar scene using The SG Shochu lineup.”

sg shochu

Each expression in the lineup (which debuted in Japan in 2020 and China in 2021) was made at a different distillery in Kyushu, the homeland of shochu. These distilleries were selected for their unparalleled craftsmanship, obsessive emphasis on quality, and consistency. While a variety of base ingredients are available for use when making shochu, strict regulations permit no additions to the final distillate except for water – no sugar, coloring, or artificial flavors. The base ingredients in The SG Shochu lineup include:

  • Rice – Kome is “Gingo, Encapsulated.” A slow, patient fermentation at a low temperature allows for the development of fruity and complex ginjo aromas in the mash.
  • Sweet Potato – Imo is “Flavor, Delivered.” Locally grown sweet potatoes are transported to the distillery immediately upon harvest.
  • Barley – Mugi is “Blend, Transcended.” Mugi consists of five types of barley shochu genshu (undiluted shochu), with a unique combination of aging method, distillation pressure, and koji ratio.

The SG Shochu’s premium expressions are imported and distributed in the U.S. by High Road Spirits. “The SG Group’s reputation as innovators, operators and leaders in the Japanese bar scene is second to none,” says Eli Raffeld, co-founder, High Road Spirits. “We look forward to showcasing premium shochu in cocktail applications and shining light on an under-utilized base spirit. The flavor profiles of The SG Shochu range are world class and we expect them to find a welcome home in the country’s top cocktail bars.”