And here’s Steven Kersley, head of BrewDog Distilling, to tell you more about this award-winning spirit.
In a way, it dates back 100 years, when curious Japanese distillers travelled to Scotland and learned the secrets of distilling Scotch whisky and took them back with them to Japan, creating their very own interpretation of Scotland’s national drink. Jump to 2020 and the creation of Inugami, our take on Japan’s number-one spirit, a lighter, brighter drink with a twist of Scottish rhubarb. Hence the name Inugami, after a vengeful dog spirits found in Japanese folklore.
I’ve worked in the distilling industry for 13 years. When I started out, my focus was exclusively in Scotch whisky where I managed several distilleries in Speyside and the Highlands, including Linkwood, Teaninich, and Benrinnes. Prior to that I completed an Honours degree in Chemistry and a Masters in Brewing & Distilling. In 2014 I was hit up by Martin Dickie, co-founder of BrewDog, to come on board as BrewDog’s head distiller and kick off their new adventure – BrewDog Distilling Co (then Lone Wolf Spirits).
Since then I’ve been creating unique spirits which span across so many different categories including gin, rum, whisky and now shochu. For me, our philosophy anchors on authenticity and innovation. Everything that we put into a bottle is made from scratch and for every spirit that we create, our method is to be as imaginative with flavour creation as possible.
Two things come to mind. My time spent as a tour guide at Oban distillery in my teens which is honestly why I’m doing what I’m doing now – I caught a massive dose of the whisky bug doing that job. Second would be the time I spent distilling with St George Spirits in San Francisco with Lance Winters and the team. It was an eye-opener in terms of what is achievable when you put brilliant ingredients at the heart of what you distil. I’d never seen 20 tonnes of jalapeños or pears in one place before, let alone distilled them.
The creativity in the blend of flavours is what creates a next-level drink that’s super-light, refreshing and crisp. It's not as laborious a process as distilling a rum or mezcal, but in some ways the delicate nature of the spirit makes it harder to get right, so there’s much less room for error. With Inugami, finding the sweet spot in balancing galangal, ginger and Scottish rhubarb was a fun way to stretch my distilling style and create an interesting spirit that’s great in a simple highball serve or for a lower-abv Martini.
It’s for the adventurous, for the seeker of new spirits and different serves, something more than a G&T. Inugami answers their needs, great in a simple highball serve or a more complex Martini, its subtle, complementary flavours encourage exploration – and it’s a great talking point and way to further engage with the customer. I’m super-excited to see what direction the very talented in our industry create with this spirit.