JAPANESE PRODUCER PLANNING TO RELEASE LIQUOR DISTILLED FROM WOOD
By Susan Lewis
Source: Ethical Spirits
A Japanese producer is planning to release the world’s first alcoholic drink made from wood by the end of this year.
Tokyo-based Ethical Spirits, a venture company, will use technology developed by the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI) in Tsukuba City to make these ground-breaking products.
The key to making wood alcohol is the “wet milling process” developed by the FFPRI, in which selected tree trunks and branches are ground into a fine powder, with each grain less than 2 microns (1 micron is a millionth of a meter).
From the wood powder, it is possible to extract the cellulose contained within the cell walls of the wood.
Glucose is produced when food-grade enzymes are added to this cellulose. And when yeast is then introduced, a fermented liquid with about 2 percent alcohol content is produced.
This liquid will then be distilled twice to get a liquor of about 30 percent alcohol.
To make a 750ml bottle of this distilled liquor, a piece of cedar wood weighing 2 kilograms will be needed.
Ethical Spirits is currently building a distillery in Chiba City and is planning to launch its wood liquors by the end of this year.
The company will start with four flavours, namely cedar, cherry, mizunara oak and kuromoji black willow. It is said each of these has its own distinctive aromas and flavours.
This new liquor category does not have a name yet, but Ethical Spirits has been calling it “wood spirits”.
Chief Operating Officer of Ethical Spirits, Chikara Ono, said: “I feel there’s potential in this new category of liquor. There will be an infinite number of flavour combinations, and it is worth the challenge.”
The first release will be available in limited quantities and is expected to have premium price, the company will consider a more accessible price range depending on market response.
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