The Story of CHOYA’s Journey to Become a Global Umeshu Pioneer
02.24.2023 | Blog
CHOYA's story is a fascinating journey of over a hundred years, starting on a farm where the company's founder, Sumitaro Kondo, began growing grapes and producing wine and brandies. CHOYA's humble roots have instilled a deep appreciation for the art of agriculture and a commitment to work hand in hand with Ume growers. This tradition still continues to this day.
Kondo's vision was to craft high-quality, delicious products that customers would fall in love with. This has become a core part of CHOYA's mission and has been passed down through generations of leadership, evident in every bottle of CHOYA sold today.
As pioneers of the Umeshu industry, CHOYA was one of the first to discover the potential of Ume, a Japanese fruit, as a key ingredient in creating an irresistible liqueur. Ume is a sour and acidic fruit grown mainly in Japan and a traditional ingredient in Japanese cuisine. With expertise in Ume cultivation and processing, CHOYA has become a leading producer of Umeshu.
In 1968, CHOYA embarked on a global mission to share traditional Japanese culture, starting with the export of Umeshu. By the mid-1980s, CHOYA had initiated full-scale operations in Europe, followed by expansions in Asia and America. Today, Umeshu's popularity has skyrocketed, largely due to CHOYA's efforts.
While it may be known as Plum Wine in the American market, most of CHOYA's products are certified as authentic Umeshu and are made using cane spirits, providing a more prominent Ume flavor than wine-based Plum Wine. In wine-based Plum Wine, the Ume flavor may be masked by the wine taste, while the fermented wine flavor is amplified.
CHOYA's success lies in its deep understanding of Ume, commitment to using only the finest ingredients, and a focus on innovation. The company's commitment to quality is evident throughout the production process, from selecting the best Ume to aging the liqueur with care and precision. CHOYA also believes in preserving the environment, working with Ume growers to adopt eco-friendly methods.
In recent years, CHOYA has continued to evolve, launching new products like organic Umeshu, flavored Umeshu, and non-alcoholic Umeshu. With more than 90% of CHOYA's Umeshu products certified as authentic Umeshu in Japan, you can be sure you're getting the real deal. It is worth noting that wine-based Plum Wine often do not meet the criteria for authenticity, as they contain sulfites which are not traditionally used in the production of authentic Umeshu.
CHOYA's rich history and commitment to quality, the environment, and customers reflect its founder's vision and promise a bright future.