About Us

In late 2008, “Shochu Tuesday” began on a crisp fall night at Izakaya Ten in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Within a few weeks a regular group of friends gathered every Tuesday and over the next year we managed to visit “i10” at least 35 out of 52 weeks – mainly on Tuesdays. Birthday parties, shochu tasting parties, any excuse for a party, really. Izakaya Ten has now been reopened as Juban, but still has the same vibe we fell in love with. Shochu Tuesday has evolved into Shochu’sday with monthly roving happy hours around NYC and beyond.


Stephen Lyman (founder and editor). Stephen is one of the leading American experts on authentic Japanese shochu. He has visited approximately 70 shochu distilleries and has sampled around 2,000 different brands. In 2015, he was the first person to become a certified shochu adviser through the Sake School of America. He was also designated the first shochu ambassador through the Cool Japan initiative from the Japan National Tourism Organization. He now works closely with the Japanese government, importers and distributors, and shochu companies to educate and promote shochu in the United States. In 2013 he began working at a handmade shochu distillery in Kagoshima every fall.

Follow him (and us) on Twitter @KampaiUS, Instagram @KampaiUS and join our facebook group Kampai!

Bill Gunther (writer). Bill is a shochu lover who first met Stephen through his monthly Shochu’sday events. Bill became so entrhalled with shochu that he began contributing guest shochu reviews to Kampai.US and took his first trip to Kyushu in 2017.

You can follow Bill on Instagram @bgunther68 and Twitter @billgunther68.

Chuck Malone (writer). Chuck is the second American to work in a shochu distillery. In the fall of 2017 he spent two months in Amami-o-shima, an island off the coast of Kagoshima, making kokuto (black sugar) shochu. He’s now returned to the U.S. and is plotting his next move. He began writing for Kampai in January 2018 and will periodically share his experiences.

Site Design: 

The look and feel of our website is courtesy of web designer extraordinaire Michael Slaven & graphic designer (and graphic novelist) Ian Bradley. Both are regulars on the izakaya circuit. Ian is a fan of barley shochu while Mike favors Japanese beers.



Japan Eats: Obsessed with Shochu (episode 23)

Fuhmentaboudit! Shochu Wanna Know about Shochu? Stephen Lyman will Shochu! (episode 198)

The Quaff (episode 9): Hoppy


Shochu: Japan’s Best Kept Secret Japan Society Talks+

Izakaya Ultimate Shochu Night at the Consulate General of Japan in New York 


English Language


8 Ways to Drink Shochu like you’re Japanese – Food & Wine

Your Shochu Adventure Begins!  – The Alcohol Professor

Everything You Wanted to Know About Shochu (But Were Afraid to Ask) – NeatPour

Kampai – Okinawan Style! – Okinawa Stripes


Shochuary is the new Dryuary (or it at least it should be) – Food & Wine


Clinician Fosters Obsession for Far Eastern Beverage MD Mag


Sharing Shochu in North America – JapanEats.TV


Japan Promotes New Tourism Highlight in Kyushu PR Web


It’s Shochu’s Night Out! Lucky Rice

Japanese Language 

Coming Soon.




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