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Umeshu is loved by Japanese and they greatly value this traditional liqueur. The biggest producer of Umeshu liqueur is none other than Choya Umeshu. Now Choya Umeshu brand is being exporting to more than 70 countries, including India. However, India is not an easy market for the company. In a freewheeling chat with Bishan Kumar in a Japanese restaurant near his headquarters in Komagatani, Habikinoshi, Osaka, Vice-CEO of Choya Umeshu, Shunji Kondo, says it is a challenge to bring Indian people closer to Choya and making them taste it. However, he is confident that once Indians taste Choya Umeshu, they will fall in love with it.

Like most things Japanese, Choya Umeshu has had a rich past, that goes back about 60 years in time. The journey is full of high-points which the Vice-CEO, Shunji Kondo feels is worth recounting. Switching to memory mode, he narrates: “Choya was founded in 1914, as a grape farming company. In 1924, our founder Sumitaro Kondo (grandfather of Vice President, Shunji Kondo) started producing wine. In 1959, the company made the historic decision to shift its major business towards the production of Umeshu a traditional Japanese liqueur made from ume fruit.” Recalling how this idea took shape, he says, the term Umeshu appeared for the first time in the ‘Honchoshokkan’ book of Japanese cuisine published in 1697. Since then, Umeshu has been produced at home and is familiar among the Japanese as a home remedy.

A lot more revealed by Shunji Kondo in chat with Bishan Kumar. Subscribe to the magazine to read more.