I talk about Shochu(焼酎) here,
As the “Chu-Hi” theory, it is supposed to use authentic Shochu but for canned Chu-Hi,(缶チューハイ),
But the Chu-Hi I am going to tell you today used “Vodka” instead of authentic Shocyu except for Takara’s canned Chu-Hi.
There are certain reasons that companies use vodka for Canned Chu-Hi, because
- The taste is clear and easy-to-drink for women who don’t like “Shochu” unique taste.
- To make strong Chuhai, vodka can do it with less amount.
- For manufactures, vodka cost less than authentic Shochu
Many canned Chuhai, “kan Chu-Hi” in Japanese, are lined up at supermarkets and convenience stores today. There is a wide variety of flavors such as lemons Japanese limes, seasonal limited editions (always) and the alcohol content also varies from about 3% to over 10%.
Because of Easy-Drink, the affordable price, and “carb-free”, Chu-Hi is one of the Japanese staple alcoholic beverages instead of canned beer.
Takara Canned Chu-Hi
“Takara Can Chu-Hi” (タカラ缶チューハイ) is the pioneer product as the first “Kan Chu-Hi” in 1984 to produce the Izakaya atmosphere at home.
Compared with other popular products, “Takara Kan Chu-Hi” is used with authentic “Shochu”, it has been popular with its dry, strong Shochu flavor, and strong fizzy that the Japanese love.
The popular “Takara can Chu-Hi” is based on the luxurious blend of 11 barrel-aged aged Shochu.
Also, Takara continues to release unique items such as seasonal and region limited editions and continue to captivate drinkers with a timeless brand.
Kirin; Hyou Ketsu
“Kirin HyouKetsu”(キリン 氷結) can be the second booster for the ready-to-drink aka RTD market following Takara Can chuhai in Japan.
The Japanese economy had been not well around then, customers tended to not spend money on alcoholic beverages (also drinking at Izakayas), so they wanted affordable daily alcoholic beverages at home.
Several canned cocktails targeted for women who like sweeter and easy-drink (less ABV) than regular dry items had been increased sales.
Kirin, is one of the largest beverage companies in Japan, started inventing new canned Chu-Hi for these reasons,
In 2001, “Kirin Hyouketsu” had released.
- The base alcohol is “vodka”.
- Very fruity and fresh taste as using fresh juice (not juice concentrate)
- Uses highly pure and transparent carbonic acid
Kirin Hyouketsu got big sales and shared 30% of Chuhai market for just one year.
Suntory; -196℃ Strong Zero
To against the great result of Takara’s and Kirin’s success, Suntory launched a project for selling Chu-Hai and began with the question of why Chu-Hi drinks at Izakayas so fresh and delicious.
Suntory discovered that when squeezing lemons and grapefruits, the ingredients contained in the peels are the key to the scent, and devised a “-196°C” manufacturing method” that instantly freezes and make the fruit powder with liquid nitrogen and infuse to vodka. (This manufacturing method was patented in 2011.)
In 2009, “-196°C Strong Zero” was released, and the ABV was 8%, which was considered higher than the canned Chuhai products at that time.
With good marketing, Suntory has continued to release new products for a variety of targets, from men to women, from youth to seniors.
“-196°C” and “-196°C Strong Zero” has been leading top sales in the Chu-Hi market today.
Tips For Choosing Chu-Hi
The Chu-Hi You Like Depends On The “Type Of Base Liquor”
The taste of Chu-hi depends on the type of alcohol used in the base.
• Shochu (焼酎)
The original Chuhai is based on full-fledged shochu. The shochu itself is dry and unique, so it is for those who like shochu flavor.
There are barely Canned Chu-Hi used Shochu, but the “Takara Can Chu-Hi” series is the easiest to buy.
Canned Chu-hai, which is based on spirits such as gin and vodka, has no habit, easy to drink, the clear aftertaste.
Recently, the spirits-based Chu-hi has been especially favored because most Izakayas use white liquor or spirits as Chu-Hi and especially young people and women get used to its taste.
Choose The Alcohol Content Depending On How You Drink And Your Constitution
A typical canned Chu-Hi has an ABV of 5-6%. In particular, canned Chu-Hi with an ABV of over 7% is called “Strong Chu-Hi” in Japan.
Because of the increase of customers who want strong dry Chu-Hi, newer items tend to have about 9-12% ABV, which is about twice as much as beer.
Therefore, you may need to check ABV carefully.
The strong type has strong alcoholic flavor, dry and refreshing feeling, and even one canned Chu-Hi can be satisfied.
It can hit you so fast because it is easy to drink, so be careful with the amount you drink.
On the other hand, there are also Chu-Hi with low ABV such as between 3% to 5% for people who want to enjoy not strong alcoholic drinks. (“Suntory Horoyoi” is the most popular low alcohol content Chu-Hi.)
Choose Your Favorite Fruit Flavor
It’s also a good idea to choose canned Chu-hi based on your favorite fruit. Canned Chu-Hi has many flavors including lemon, peach, grape, grapefruit, lime, and orange.
Also, companies always produce seasonally limited edition, making it easy to find unique flavors.
Choose “Law-carb” “less-sugar”
Sugar, carb, and calories are also important checkpoints for health geeks.
With the recent health fad, “sugar-free”, “low-carb” products have also been released like the canned beer market.
You can still enjoy drinking without guilt.
On the next page, I am going to introduce flavors I found.