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   My previous post on last year’s disappointing shôchû sales piqued my interest anew in Iichiko, Japan’s largest shôchû distillery in terms of revenue and producer of the best-selling Iichiko mugi (barley) shôchû. As I mentioned before, I had never tried their mugi shôchû, but was familiar with the Ichiko brand as the company has for many, many years ran an advertising campaign with large posters featuring a bottle of their shôchû, sometimes hidden like Waldo, in a variety of outdoor settings.

   I’m not sure what the message of the ads is supposed to be, but I’ll admit they do make an impression. Mind you, I have never once looked at the poster and thought, “I’d like to try that stuff.” 

   The article in the Keizai Shimbun, however, changed all that. "Best-selling mugi shôchû? A million-plus consumers can't be wrong."

   Last ween when I was barhopping (梯子酒, hashigo zake) with some friends I got sozzled enough to finally give Iichiko a try. I'd drunk just about everything else on the menu, what the Japanese call champon-ing (ちゃんぽん, champon) and figured a glass of mugi shôchû wouldn't kill me.

   Boy, I wish I hadn’t. Iichiko’s catch phrase, the Napoleon (as in the brandy) of the Working Class Neighborhood (下町のナポレオン Shitamachi no Naporeon), had been fair enough warning.

My first sip of the shôchû evoked an unusual reaction from me, one that I often see in others when they try whatever firewater I happen to be drinking at the moment: “Wah!”

   Mugi shôchû is supposed to be one of the more drinkable varieties of shôchû, but Iichiko had the zingy palate of paint thinner. A million-plus consumers didn’t know shit from Shinola.


いいちこむぎ焼酎 (Iichiko Mugi Shôchû)

25% Alc/Vol

Rate: ★

Reader Comments (1)

haha, only a star for that thing? Poor million plus consumers.

August 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdi

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