Get to Know Japan’s ‘Best-Kept Secrets’ From the Expert

Christopher Pellegrini is a shochu and awamori expert, author, host, and die-hard Tokyo Swallows fan, incorporating his infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of Japanese spirits in all his professional endeavors. He launched Honkaku Spirits in March of 2020 with the mission of bringing intensely artisanal Japanese spirits to discerning American consumers, especially koji-based spirits including shochu, awamori, and koji whiskey.

Hailing from Bristol, Vermont, Christopher received his B.A. in Spanish from Wittenberg University and his M.A. in language education from University College London. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Bioresource Economics from Kagoshima National University.

After honing his skills as a brewer at Otter Creek Brewing Company in Middlebury, Vermont, Christopher became a full-time professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Following the launch of Honkaku Spirits, he now teaches at the university on a part-time basis.

Respected throughout the industry, Christopher is a judge of the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition as well as Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. In addition to being a contributor to the award-winning “Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails,” his extensive understanding of shochu inspired him to write the first non-Japanese book about shochu and awamori, “The Shochu Handbook.” He also co-hosts two podcasts focused on the education of Japanese spirits: Japan Distilled and Sake on Air. Fluent in English and Japanese, Christopher’s contribution to increasing global knowledge of Japanese spirits continues to shape opinion on the burgeoning category.

Christopher was the first person to be certified by the Sake Service Institute as a Shochu Kikisakeshi (specialist) in Japan and as a Shochu Advisor by the Sake School of America; he is one of a select few that hold both accreditations. Christopher also speaks conversational Spanish and Korean.

Passionate about giving back, Christopher proudly supports the Minga Foundation, the Providence Saint Joseph Foundation, and the Ray Pellegrini ‘Reach for the Stars’ Scholarship.

Christopher Pellegrini

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Learn more about Christopher’s company, Honkaku Spirits, and various Japanese spirits by visiting their website!