Aka Kirishima is a seasonal sweet potato shochu from Kirishima Shuzo, the producer of the best selling shochu in Japan, Kuro Kirishima. Much as iichiko put Oita on the map as a producer of barley shochu to rival Iki Island (more barley shochu is now produced in Oita than in the traditional home of barley shochu), Kirishima's products put Miyazaki on the map as a rival to Kagoshima's dominance as the home of sweet potato shochus.
Sakaya, which means "sake shop" in Japanese, is a small, elegantly designed shop in New York City's East Village. It's just a few minutes walk from many of the popular izakayas and ramen shops in the neighborhood. The extensive selection of sake (nihon-shu) is curated by a husband and wife team - Hiroko Furukowa & Rick Smith. Their tastes are impeccable and their weekend sake tastings are a "must try" event when in the neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon.
Sweet Potato, or imo, shochus are perhaps the most common in Japan, though they don’t receive quite as much love in the United States. Rice & barley shochus tend to be smoother and easier to drink and since there is no equivalent Americn spirit distilled with sweet potato, imo shochus tend to have stronger flavors than we’re accustomed to from a clear spirit.