Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS


The Basic Guide How to Store and Preserve Shochu

How to Store and Preserve Shochu

Although shochu lacks an expiration date, its quality could change over time. Learn how best to keep the product to make its quality last longer.

No Expiration Date

Shochu has an alcohol content of over 20%, which keeps the product from spoiling. Because of this, there is no legal requirement to indicate the expiry date on shochu bottles.

Bottling date

Sometimes, shochu bottles will include a date on the label. This is the bottling date of the product. Keep in mind that this is not necessarily the date when the shochu finished distilling. For example, a product that was distilled in October 2020 and bottled in April 2022 would list “April 2022” on the label.

How to Maintain Quality

Although shochu takes a long time to spoil, the quality can change over time. For example, the aroma and flavor can become a little off. In addition, opening the bottle exposes the shochu to oxygen, which speeds up changes in quality. For the best experience, try to finish the bottle within half a year after opening.

In order to keep the quality as long as possible, try to avoid the following when storing.

Avoid: Sunlight and Light

Sunlight and any other light can oxidize the components of shochu and change its aroma and flavor. Try to keep the bottle away from sunlight and light when storing. Best practices include storing shochu in a dark cupboard, box, or wrapped in paper.

Avoid: Fluctuating Temperature

Temperature fluctuation often triggers chemical reactions within shochu, which, in turn, changes its characteristics. Try to keep the bottles in places with stable temperatures. Avoid places with frequent or drastic temperature changes, such as near a stove or window.

Avoid: Refrigerators

When exposed to cold temperatures, some flavor components in shochu start to take on a cloudy appearance. Heat reduces the cloudiness but may result in altered flavor characteristics. Therefore, it is best not to store shochu bottles in a refrigerator for long periods of time.

Avoid: Smelly Spots

Storing shochu near areas or products with strong smells, like mold or kerosene, may lead to the shochu taking on these odors. It is best to store in areas free of strong smells.

How to Check for Spoiled Shochu

To check if the shochu has gone bad, try smelling it. If it smells sour or foul, it may be spoiled and unsuitable for drinking. In addition, if there is a visible residue in the shochu its flavor properties may have changed. It is not harmful to drink, but it may taste a bit off.

What to do with Spoiled Shochu

Spoiled shochu may not be ideal for drinking, but it can still be used in cooking. Like sake or wine, components in shochu can bring out the flavors of the ingredients.


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