Illegal to make plum wine at home in Japan?

Many of us like to make our own concoction from time-to-time, whether it be kombucha, liquors infused with our favorite ingredients or even taking up micro-brewing, it always feels good creating your own personal beverage. But did you know that making plum wine at home may break Japanese laws?

Since plums have natural yeast and sugar, when put in the right conditions, it can start fermenting and create alcohol. If sake is used (alcohol content is around 15-16%), to infuse with plums, alcohol would probably be produced and actually brewing will take place. This would actually violates the Liquor Tax Law in Japan. More importantly, if sake is used, the alcohol content is quite low to start with and in some cases, unwanted bacteria can group which would release toxins and the resulting plum wine should not be consumed.

Not to worry though, there is a way around this. We recommend using shochu instead. Yes it's that simple, since shochu'a alcohol content is above 25% it is hard for yeast or other bacteria to survive in it, which means that no alcohol is formed from this process and the resulting wine is safe to consume. This makes it the perfect ingredient for you make your own plum wine! Instead of brewing, you're just infusing!

Usually we recommend using the Yanagita Koma for infusion.