With their motto to “implement circular-economy in distillation platform”, The Ethical Spirits & Co. has been on a mission to create craft gins made from otherwise wasted wood materials as well as to run a recycle style distillery in Tokyo. As a collaborative project with Hiroyasu Kashima, the owner bartender from “Mixology & Elixir Bar Ben Fiddich”, together they are launching a project “WoodSpirits”.

This project uses technology from Forest and Forestry Products Research Institute (FFPRI) to produce “Ki no Sake (Wood alcohol)” (And no, it contains ethanol!). This is the world’s first technology to make spirits made from wood, and a project to take steps forward to use it into production for consumers.

The idea of wood spirits can be quite intriguing in terms of that it changes its flavor and aroma depending on what type of tree is used. For example, cherry trees will make fruity alcohol as opposed to Mizunara (Japanese oak) which produces whiskey-like deep aroma.

Traditionally, wood and alcohol relation is limited to the aging process mostly using wooden barrels. In the “WoodSpirits” project, the actual wood goes through a special process to be broken down with natural spring water, making it slurry. After such a process, the wood is finally in the state ready for yeast fermentation. This project is scheduled to go through safety testing in 2022.

If this production process comes true, you can easily create “vintage 100 year old wood alcohol” by fermenting 100 year old wood that would otherwise go into waste products. How neat is that?

They are also focusing on recycling thin, timber wooden materials that are restricted for their usage purposes. This not only gives the waste or low valued material another life, it also contributes to the cultivating more demands and revitalization of Japanese forestry, all in the meanwhile helping the ecology of our forest and ocean.

Ethical Spirits & Co. will be having the grand opening of its third location, “Tokyo Riverside distillery” in Tokyo in the beginning of July this year. The distillery is already operating and partially pre-opened. In cooperation with many other sake and beer distilleries, they are planning to operate as the world’s first recycle distillery producing many different types of distilled alcohol based on otherwise unusable materials.

By - Mugi.