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What is Umeshu? The Difference of Japanese Alcoholic Beverage

09.29.2023 | Blog

Questions that frequently arise, such as "Is Umeshu a variant of sake?" or "Are Umeshu and Plum Wine interchangeable terms?" underscore the necessity for clarity when it comes to discerning between these two traditional Japanese libations. Umeshu, a renowned liqueur, is meticulously composed from Ume fruit, sugar, and alcohol. The misnomer of conflating Umeshu with "Plum Wine" accentuates the importance of precise terminology. For a more comprehensive analysis of the differentiation between Umeshu and Plum Wine, we invite you to peruse our earlier blog post titled "The Difference between Umeshu and Plum Wine"

On another note, the prominence of sake as a prominent beverage within the Japanese landscape often engenders inquiries about its relationship with Umeshu. While both are indeed emblematic of Japan's rich heritage and constitute alcoholic beverages, it is crucial to acknowledge their distinctive attributes across several dimensions. Are they synonymous, or does Umeshu indeed fall under the sake category? The answer is firmly in the negative.


Sake and Umeshu, while sharing a common origin in the traditional Japanese alcoholic beverages sphere, diverge significantly in terms of their core attributes, stemming from variations in ingredients, production methodologies, flavor profiles, and intended uses. A salient detail is the designation of authentic Umeshu as a liquor, a distinction attributed to its creation from cane spirits, a nuanced point worth considering.

The term "liquor" often conjures images of beverages with high alcohol content, yet it is noteworthy that the typical alcohol content of conventional Umeshu hovers around 15%. Within our selection at CHOYA USA, we offer an array of Umeshu products featuring alcohol content spanning from 5.5% to 18%, catering to diverse preferences.


Immersed in the depths of Japan's cultural heritage, Umeshu boasts a legacy spanning centuries, cementing its status as a cherished libation that has gracefully withstood the passage of time. Its intricate flavor profile and multifaceted nature reflect the intricacies of Japanese culinary and beverage traditions, making it a symbol of both continuity and innovation.

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